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on 7 November 2005
Nicholas Shakespeare's 'In Tasmania' is a reminder of the sheer absurdity of the human condition, equally applicable 200 years' ago as to today. There are tales aplenty that only real life can produce. 'In Tasmania' is one of those books so rich in prose and so vivid in content that one comes away as if one had actually been present across the decades in this most bizarre of places. How fascinating our collective heritage is. Mr Shakespeare has produced a tremendous read.
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on 26 October 2008
enjoyed the journey. the author has found himself a nice corner of the world to reflect and weave some tales - good for him! old and new converge and contrast with some humour, insight and a liberal slice of the island's history. a nice reminder that there is a very different world outside our large cities. definitely adding Tazzie to the visit list after finishing this one.
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on 27 December 2007
. . . and make it riveting reading at the same time. I imagine that most of us in the UK give little thought to Tasmania - that will almost certainly change for readers of this book. Mr Shakespeare weaves the early history of the country round that of his ancestors in a most entertaining fashion. At the same time he does not neglect the present. There were some awful rogues and vagabonds who seem to congregate here and once again poor Captain Bligh came unstuck at the hands of some of them! The claim that the Aborigines were/are not extinct is a little specious and depends very much on your definitions of "extinct" and "Aborigine" and what seems a current fashion among Tasmanians.
The paperback version is ill-served by the reproduction of the illustrations and the publishers should be ashamed to issue such poor examples. If those in the hard cover version are equally as bad I think N. Shakespeare should sue.
Nevertheless I recommend this book as a thoroughly good and very informative read.
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on 10 November 2012
This is a quirky combination of fact, family history and insight in to this remote country. Ideal to read before or during a visit to the place.
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VINE VOICEon 26 September 2015
Having visited Tasmania a few years ago and stayed with residents there I had some knowledge of this most extraordinary island (which I would urge anyone to visit if they are in the southeast of Australia). So I looked forward to reading Nicholas Shakespeare's account. The firs thing to say is that it is very much a personal account, an investigation into his family links with the island and its history, and as such it is absolutely fascinating. But that also means it is not an overall portrait of the island or its history. Nevertheless I did enjoy this book and even though it is overlong (too much information!) I wanted to read to the end.

The print is way too small and the illustrations are poor - some so dark that you can barely make out what is being represented in them! This is a shame as they do not do justice to the text, which is beautifully written, thoughtful, and reflective.
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on 8 September 2016
A little disappointed with this. It's a self indulgent history of Tasmania from a personal family history point of view. Some of the first half about the early history of Tasmania, the penal colony and the Aboriginal history is interesting if you can make out the wood for the trees. It's laboured, long winded, repetitive - keeping returning the same areas of history, rather than sticking to straight chronology and the small print makes it even more difficult to read, so it's a slow read. I skipped whole chunks towards the end because I didn't want to know about Merle Oberon or the Hordern family.

It's not something you'd pick up to read for fun, I think you need to be interested in Tasmania and it's history.
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on 15 June 2015
Great but such small print - a very slow read with a magnifying glass so I shall have to get it on my Kindle for the plane journey.
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on 5 January 2015
Interesting account of a seldom visited part of the world, but lengthy.
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