The Fatal Shore

The Fatal Shore

4.1 9
by Robert Hughes

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The history of the birth of Australia which came out of the suffereing and brutality of England's infamous convict transportation system. With 16 pages of illustrations and 3 maps.  See more details below


The history of the birth of Australia which came out of the suffereing and brutality of England's infamous convict transportation system. With 16 pages of illustrations and 3 maps.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Hughes, art critic at Time, offers a vast and entertaining history of his native land's early years as a ``thief colony,'' i.e., the place to which, beginning in 1788, Britain transported some 160,000 convicts. ``The book abounds with stories of these exiles,'' PW wrote. (February)
Library Journal
For 80 years between 1788 and 1868 England transported its convicts to Australia. This punishment provided the first immigrants and the work force to build the colony. Using diaries, letters, and original sources, Hughes meticulously documents this history. All sides of the story are told: the political and social reasoning behind the Transportation System, the viewpoint of the captains who had the difficult job of governing and developing the colonies, and of course the dilemma of the prisoners. This is a very thorough and accurate history of Australian colonization written by the author of the book and BBC/Time-Life TV series The Shock of the New . A definitive work that is an essential purchase for both public and academic libraries. BOMC and History Book Club main selections. Judith Nixon, Purdue Univ. Libs., W. Lafayette, Ind.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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The Fatal Shore: The Epic of Australia's Founding 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was purchased for preparation for our only trip to Australia. The travel guide book we have talks about visiting prison/ museum and this sparked my interest in learning more about the history. The Aboriginal story of Australia is pretty well documented, but I knew very little about the English penal colony history. The connection that threw me a loop, is after 1776, and the Revolutionary war, the US refused to have any more English convicts brought to her shores (In History class, all I remember is the Mayflower...) among other reasons, because 47,000 slaves were coming to our shores yearly from the African continent, greater numbers than England could send for cheap labor. England had chosen to not build or repair their prisons, so kept sending them to off-shore countries, and Australia was that far-off colony that could be easily forgotten about. I am only into chapter 3, and appreciate the amount of information Robert Hughes has that is not included in school history books. I think the trip to Australia will be much more interesting for having read this book, and from today's economic wows, I also see historically, Americans, as well as other Western cultures, are addiction to cheap labor (whether it is on our shores, or in developing/under developed countries).
JohnP51 More than 1 year ago
I read this book when it first came out in paperback about 20 years ago or so. I was riveted to it back then and have remained so since. Robert Hughes writes an 841-page history of the founding of Australia as a convict colony in 1788 until its demise as such a century later. And he does so in such an easy to read and comprehend method that it is like reading a James Mitchener saga instead of a history book. If you are interested in this subject at all, this book is for you. I was so glad to see it come out in nook book format since I loaned out my well-worn paperback version and never got it back.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A vast, absorbing tale of Australia's beginnings. It was a wonderful introduction before our trip Down Under, but by itself the book is a fascinating history. How does a great country arise from a penal colony? This book answers the question.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Fatal Shore is a compelling read on the history of Australia, England’s ruthless transportation of tens of thousands of prisoners and its colonization of Australia. A must for anyone interested in the early years of life Down Under, the victimization of the aborigines, and Britain’s vast reach historically and in the present.
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BeeMD More than 1 year ago
I read this because I'm planning a trip to Australia and New Zealand in a few months. It's not a "pretty" read, but tells the story. Scholarly but not dry. It fills in the background of the English social and political situations at the time which led to transportation as the means of dealing with "crime and criminals".
Guest More than 1 year ago
I could not finish this book. How mistreated and destitute the convicts were is overstated and reiterated throughout not only the book or each chapter, but on almost every page.