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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
25
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Paperback|Change
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on 22 December 2012
This is a really well researched book. (Amazon should make sure it pays its taxes in UK). The detail is incredible and makes you feel you really understand what things were like in the 1780s. The plight of the aborigines is dealt with, and the deeds of the key characters are insightfully described without too many assumptions. It's a long read with much detail, but a super introduction to the first years of the British colonization.
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on 5 September 2016
Just received this through from Amazon, so have not actually read it yet !!!
I am a big Keneally fan, so I am really looking forward to beginning asap.
Will come back to this review when I can say something useful !!!
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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.
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on 20 January 2014
I was expecting a literary representation of the experience of individuals being sent to Australia but this read more like a very well researched but rather dry text book. We were reading it for our book club and most participants didn't finish it but appreciated that it was extremely well researched and an accurate portrayal.
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on 23 May 2010
Tom Keneally is arguably one of Australia's greatest writers. The depth of research in this book makes it all the more fascinating, readable and credible. Not having studied any Australian history since my schoolgirl experiences, I looked forward to this book to provide me with insights into the earliest interactions with indigenous Australians and expand my knowledge and understanding of the difficulties and achievements, the mentality and huge mistakes during those founding years of white settlement. I was not disappointed. It is not a dry history text by any means - this book is closer to an oral history written down - human, empathetic, amusing and insightful.
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on 16 May 2014
This is indeed an interesting book and for the most part I enjoyed it. I didn't find it a particularly easy read, however. With the enormous cast of characters hard to keep track of and the author's sometimes convoluted grammar necessitating the rereading of numerous sentences. It would also benefit from some maps.

The time period that the book covers is quite narrow and it has left me wanting to find out what happened next. One book leads to another, c'est la vie.
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on 1 September 2013
So well researched and interesting. Makes me want to read more of Keneally's work. It was a huge pleasure to read. Highly recommend this to others who are interested in the founding of Australia.
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on 30 April 2015
This is a highly personal, intimate kind of history book, concerned very heavily with the stories of many real individuals. These people's crimes, sufferings, hopes, tragedies and victories are given with honest sympathy and impressive detail. There is equal regard for the female and male prisoners, the officers, the Aboriginals, the children and the sailors. It's a moving account of a time when savage punishments were deemed an inescapable necessity, and it could seem miraculous that mercy found a way.
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on 25 December 2014
The book arrived in plenty of time and in good condition. I bought this book partly for my history studies but primarily due to my interest in the treatment of indigenous people and the behaviour of those who arrived either by courtesy of the British Crown or those who arrived for a new beginning. I think it will be invaluable for my understanding of the Australian people as part of the British Empire.
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on 2 January 2013
This gripping read is unput downable .,giving a readable account of its first four years.written by Thomas Keneally of Schindlers list you know you are in for a good read which does not bog you down with facts and figures
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