The Commonwealth of Thieves

The Commonwealth of Thieves : The Story of the Founding of Australia

3.59 (830 ratings by Goodreads)
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The story of modern Australia begins in eighteenth-century Britain, where people were hanged for petty offences but crime was rife, and the gaols were bursting. From this situation was born the Sydney experiment, with criminals perceived to be damaging British society transported to Sydney, an 'open air prison with walls 14,000 miles thick'.

Eleven ships were dispatched in 1781, and arrived in Australia after eight hellish months at sea. Tom Keneally describes the first four years of the 'thief colony' and how, despite the escapes, the floggings, the murders and the rebellions, it survived against the odds to create a culture which would never have been tolerated in its homeland but which, in Australia, became part of the identity of a new and audacious nation.

By the author of Schindler's Ark, since made into the internationally acclaimed film, Schindler's List.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 528 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 33mm | 359g
  • Vintage Publishing
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 8
  • 0099483742
  • 9780099483748
  • 107,914

Review quote

"Australia is lucky to have Keneally. Few writers have a public voice that one wants to take to the bedroom... He gets down and dirty with his characters form their perspective at the time... complex moderate and humane... likely to endure" -- Nicholas Shakespeare * Daily Telegraph * "Evocative, broad-ranging and intelligently observed" * Mail on Sunday * "Keneally has deployed his outstanding talents as a narrative writer to produce an enlivening, informative and judicious book about his country's troubled origins" -- Barclay McBain * Herald * "Keneally has always had a grand talent for the telling of a tale. His rattling account of the genesis of his native city is one of his very best" -- Carmen Callil * The Times * "The Commonwealth of Thieves is immaculately researched and historically exact... a great read and a useful scholarly account of an extraordinary event described with gusto and sympathy" -- Kate Grenville * Guardian *
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About Thomas Keneally

Thomas Keneally is married with two daughters and a grandson, and lives most of the year in Sydney, Australia. His numerous books include novels, memoirs and history. He has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize three times, and won it in 1982 with Schindler's Ark since made by Steven Spielberg into the internationally acclaimed film Schindler's List.
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Review Text

"Keneally has always had a grand talent for the telling of a tale. His rattling account of the genesis of his native city is one of his very best"
show more

Rating details

830 ratings
3.59 out of 5 stars
5 17% (143)
4 38% (315)
3 34% (284)
2 8% (70)
1 2% (18)
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