At first glance, the title of this brief review may appear something of an oxymoron. However, this is exactly what Robert Hughes does by applying his almost tangible decency to a subject which few British authors and until the fairly recent past not many Australian writers saw fit to examine in an extremely academic, but still humane style; namely the transportation of 160,000 men, women and children from Britain to various penal colonies in Australia between 1788 and 1868. Hughes explores this period through the documentary and physical sources examined, over what must have constituted an immense period of research. The fruits of that research are shown in the vivid pictures he presents not only of the many gross violations perpetrated on those unfortunate enough to savour embrace of the System; but, also the society that acted as its progenitor. Hughes' writing is exceptional and efficiently conveys the moral paradox at the heart of transportation. Namely. its undeniably inherent wrong with the fact that equally undeniably the transported labour quickened the process of colonisation. This book pulls no punches in its exposure of societies often hypocritical stance on the treatment of offenders. Personlly, it reminded us to beware of politicians and others who offer us a simple or one dimensional solution to the problems of crimminality. OveralL, I have no hesitation in commending this excellent and thought provoking book.