Melbourne on my mind's Reviews > The Fatal Shore: The Epic of Australia's Founding

The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes
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Dec 29, 11

bookshelves: history, australian, non-fiction
Read from October 21 to December 30, 2011, read count: 1

Well, I'm finally finished. THANK GOD. Look, it's a fascinating subject matter, if you're into colonial history. And I felt like I SHOULD read it, after spending two years of my life developing a museum display about convict life in Tasmania (among other things). I think in part, it took me such a long time to read it because there really is a limit to how much of your day you can devote to reading about secondary punishment and how convicts walked around with their shoes full of blood from the floggings they were given. *shudder*

I think also it has to do with when it was written (1986) - clearly it was part of the whole "Oh crap, it's the Bicentennial soon, we'd better write a lot of stuff about Australia's history!" thing. Historical writing has changed a lot since the 1980s - it's now less stuffy and more conversational (in my opinion, at least!). So to go back to that really dry style was a bit of a struggle.

Basically, I enjoyed it, but I won't be reading it again any time soon.
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Reading Progress

10/21/2011 page 7
1.0% "I have a sneaking suspicion that this is going to take a while........"
10/23/2011 page 51
7.0% "SERIOUSLY. This is going to take me forever........"
12/11/2011 page 258
34.0% "Treatment of convict women. What cheerful subject matter... (Although actually an improvement on reading the bit about Alexander Pearce last night *shudder*)"
12/15/2011 page 340
45.0% "Sloooooooowly making progress..."
12/19/2011 page 369
49.0% "Pretty sure Gov. Davey was the colonial equivalent of Jack Sparrow: "Davey marked his arrival in Hobart Town in February 1813 by lurching to the ship's gangway, casting an owlish look at his new domain and emptying a bottle of port over his wife's hat. He then took off his coat, remarked that the place was as hot as Hades, and marched uphill to Government House in his shirtsleeves.""
12/25/2011 page 485
64.0% "My goal for the rest of 2011 is to finish this. I can't stand reading about convicts and secondary punishment and how their shoes were filled with blood from the floggings they were given any more. Convict history is depressing, y'all."
12/28/2011 page 576
77.0% "On the settlement of Swan River: "Not being convicts, the ladies could not curse." Wouldn't stop me!!"
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