Steve Bennett's Reviews > The Fatal Shore: The Epic of Australia's Founding

The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes
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's review
Oct 25, 2011

it was amazing

My knowledge of Australia before reading this book: (1) My dad was stationed in Australia for much of WWII; (2) my dad's lifelong dream was to move to Australia and run a repair shop/hardware store; (3) my mom would not allow my dad to live his dream; (4) Shirley Collins' beautiful version of Van Dieman's Land (every one should own her No Roses album by the way)(and even more by the way, hearing the crystalline voice of Shirley Collins on The Power of the True Love Knot (particularly on vinyl) is innocence and boundless youth and summer itself); and 5)Dylan's appropriately craggy version of Jim Jones at Botany Bay.

So after reading Fatal Shore I learned that life is fricken mean and harsh in Australia. Well, at least the founding history. This book is altogether fascinating and is one of my favorite history books. Extremely welll written. Now I understand and better appreciate the horrors and sadness that underline those two Australian folk songs. And I guess I better say "Thank you mom." And "What the hell was my dad thinking?"

Everyone with an interest in history should read this book.
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Trevor Yeah, I see what you mean, except it is like none of this ever happened over here. Until recently one could live their entire life in Australia and not know anything about how Aboriginals were treated. That is no longer true, but it is true of convicts. There is a near complete silence about this part of our history and unless you go looking for it, to Port Arthur, for example, the stain has been nearly completely removed.

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