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The Commonwealth of Thieves: The Story of the Founding of Australia Hardcover – 1 Jun 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus (1 Jun. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701178833
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701178833
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 4 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,160 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"rollicking chronicle of Australia’s origins" -- Roger Lewis in Sunday Express

Chosen by Barclay McBain.
-- The Saturday Herald Books of the Year.

from Keneally’s graphic account... the founding of Australia was an epic of endurance rooted in the grossest brutality -- Daily Express, Peter Burton

‘An enlivening, informative and judicious book about his country’s troubled origins.’ -- Barclay McBain, The Herald

Book Description

Lively history of the 'First Fleet' which took convicts from Britain to Australia in 1787. Also tells the story of the early years of Sydney, which was founded as 'an open-air prison', and the colonisation of New South Wales. The irony is that many a city founded in Utopian optimism has failed; Sydney, with its 'commonwealth of thieves', has been a conspicuous success.

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Top Customer Reviews

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.
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Fascinating storey.
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