43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
A fantastic insight into the forgotten British gulags,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Fatal Shore: History of the Transportation of Convicts to Australia, 1787-1868 (Paperback)
I studied English history for many years at school, and not once was the shameful secret of transportation mentioned in the syllabus. The scale of cruelty and barbarism described by Hughes in some parts of the Colony is staggering, but what strikes most about the book is its evenhandness. The convicts' backgrounds and unconventional social mores are fully investigated, as is their treatment at the hands of unknowing and uncaring British petty colonialists. What are more uncertain are Hughes' assertions about the effect of the convict past on the Australian character of today - is the convict past really an issue in Australian social politics (other than a friendly taunt to visiting pommies)? Still, an enthralling, deeply moving and informative read, a must for students of English or Australian history, or visitors to Australia.