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In 1787, the twenty-eighth year of the reign of King George III, the British Government sent a fleet to colonize Australia...An epic description of the brutal transportation of men, women and children out of Georgian Britain into a horrific penal system which was to be the precursor to the Gulag and was the origin of Australia. The Fatal Shore is the prize-winning, scholarly, brilliantly entertaining narrative that has given its true history to Australia.
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'An extraordinarily vivid yet authentic account of the birthpangs of a nation. A work of real distinction' Philip Ziegler

About the Author

Robert Hughes, art critic of Time magazine and twice winner of the American College Art Association's F. J. Mather Award for distinguished criticism, is author of The Shock of the New, and of Heaven and Hell in Western Art, both written before the present work. He is also author of the acclaimed Nothing if Not Critical, "criticism at its most intelligent and impressive, trenchant, lucid, elegantly written" in the words of William Boyd; a work on Frank Auerbach; Barcelona, and Culture of Complaint, essays on the fraying of America, described in the Observer as " the most bracing of critical broadsides against new anti-intellectual tyrannies". Robert Hughes died in August 2012.

Reviews

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.

"A unique phantasmagoria of crime and punishment, which combines the shadowy terrors of Goya with the tumescent life of Dickens" Peter Ackroyd, The Times "A triumph of research, passion and fine writing. I found it an extraordinary and compelling book to read, one of fantastic scope and imagination; truly a tour de force" William Shawcross "Riveting" The Book Magazine "With its mood and stature...The Fatal Shore is well on its way to becoming the standard opus on the convict years" Sydney Sunday Telegraph "An enthralling account of the convict settlement of Australia, thoroughly researched and excellently written, brimming over with rare and pungent characters, and tales of pathos, bravery, and horror" Peter Matthiessen

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