on 4 January 2006
This was the first work on the founding of New South Wales that I had seen since Robert Hughes' masterpeice The Fatal Shore and it was with some reservation concerning the authors stance on history that I purchased this text. My misgivings were scotched after the first few pages. This is a very readable and entertaining history of the Sydney experiment that does justice to both whites and blacks and is interspersed with colourful prose, ironic humour and well rounded biographies of the main characters in what was quintessentially a race dominated crucible. Whilst the narrative covers, in depth, the founding four years or so and is very detailed this work is not simply a carbon copy of The Fatal Shore rather a microscopic study of the crucial years of survival for a colony that would in years later become the great nation of Australia. My only criticism is that for the price the author could have perhaps littered his work with colour plates and illustrations so as to make ownership of this book more of a pleasure.