- Hardcover: 752 pages
- Publisher: Chatto & Windus; First Edition edition (3 Dec. 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1856197883
- ISBN-13: 978-1856197885
- Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.6 x 4.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 983,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Great Shame Hardcover – 3 Dec 1998
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The Booker Prize-winning Schindler's List (on which Steven Spielberg based his Oscar-winning film) demonstrated that Thomas Keneally could make history as compelling as any novel. The Great Shame, expands upon the achievement of his earlier fiction; because this is more than just the story of the Keneally family tree, transported from Ireland to Australia in the 19th century. It is the story of how Irish men and women came to be dispersed all over the world, and what they made of their lives in their new homes. It is the epic history of a whole people.
The Great Shame is, superbly, rivetingly, hypnotically readable; partly because Keneally orchestrates his many narrative strands so expertly and touches his story with many moments of beautiful writing, but also because it is all, even at its most extraordinary, completely true. The result is astonishingly vivid. What The Great Shame is most reminiscent of is a classic 19th-century novel; a Dickens, or a George Eliot. We follow Keneally's characters with the same involvement through their successes and their trials, until the very last sentence in the book when, like a master from the classic age of the novel, Keneally pays tribute to "the piquant blood and potent ghosts of the characters to whom we now bid goodbye". --Adam Roberts
"Keneally's history of Irish emigration is a lucid, elegant and ambitious book with an epic narrative sweep" (Observer) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
However, if you are looking for a book that will give you a detailed insight into the key political agitators for home rule and land reform in 19th century Ireland, then this is the book for you. Told with lots of interesting personal asides that make the key people feel real, and help you to understand their motivations, two main generations of activists are followed as they are transported to Australia. In time, some return to Ireland, some remain in Australia and many make their way to America. More American history is covered in this book than Australian and if you want a detailed account of the role of the Irish in the civil war and the formation of America then this book will give you insight into some of the key players.
The Great Shame has reinforced my understanding of the motivations for home rule and the struggle to break away from British rule. Additionally it has provided me with some background on ex Irish and American motivations for funding the Irish struggle.Read more ›
As a writer of many works of historical fiction, Keneally's endowed with a superior talent for depicting real people in true to life situations. He's fictionalized Australia's Patrick White, television personality Gordon Elliot and Aborigine rebel Jimmy Gouvernor. Who else could successfully portray his own and his wife's grandfathers in fiction and history? In Great Shame he's able to track the movements of Hugh Larkin and other Keneally family members with his engaging writing style. Indeed, in telling a story he is without peer in the English idiom.
The real appeal of this book is not just the story of the Irish, but the quest for justice. The Diaspora was driven by a ruling nation refusing to face the realities of their inaction in the face of all evidence. The exiles, both forced and willing, never lost sight of the dream of an Ireland free from the yoke of a foreign invader.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very interesting read. I have now moved on to find many other views on this. Who do we blame, the system. to many children. happening now again. Read morePublished on 10 April 2014 by jlmatthews
I am of this stock and we survived and we prospered and we influenced. We are here amongst you and now always will be. Read morePublished on 20 Jan. 2014 by Caratom
I did not finish this book, but not because it was in any way bad. It is a very detailed account of 19th century Irish history. Read morePublished on 16 Dec. 2006 by John Hopper