A Commonwealth of Thieves: The Improbable Birth of Australia
It was 1786 when Arthur Phillip, an ambitious captain in the Royal Navy, was assigned the formidable task of organizing an expedition to Australia in order to establish a penal colony. The squalid and turbulent prisons of London were overflowing, and crime was on the rise. Even the hulks sifting at anchor in the Thames were packed with malcontent criminals and petty thieve...more
My main criticism of the book is that it doesn't have a decisive conclusion. The colony limps along ...more
This book is a history of the initial settlement of Australia, covering the conditions in England that caused the settlement, the abortive landing at Botany Bay, the eventual removal of the expedition to Port Jacks ...more
This nonfiction could also serve to show parallels to those who think US history is somehow uniquely shameful, as the a ...more
His Majesty's government decided it would be a splendid idea to use it as a dump for the overflow of the British penal system. So it was that in 1787, an expedition of eleven ships, their three hundred crew, two hundred and fifty marines, and eight hundred prisoners, ventured forth from Britain ...more
- in 1788 a fleet of 11 ships filled with royal marines & their families and convicts set sail for Botany Bay...an area identified by the most influential botanists and naturalists as being able to sustain a city. A royal navy captain named Arthur Phillp was sent out to lead this penal colony a ...more
Most of the time the constant stream of fact after fact and throwing in new convict or new marine made it difficult to keep things straight.
Also, I understand this is history ...more
Although the reading by Simon Vance is terrific, I think some visual aids of maps and timelines would have much enhanced my enjoyment.
I almost gave it up in the first hundred pages because the writing was so dry. It wasn't necessarily boring, it just gave a lot of backstory about the penal co ...more
The book clearly started and ended with the recruitment, governornship and death of Arther Phillip, otherwis ...more