A Commonwealth of Thieves: The Improbable Birth of Australia by Thomas Keneally (402 pages)

For our January meeting we will read A Commonwealth of Thieves: The Improbable Birth if Australia by Thomas Keneally (402 pages)  

In the late 18th century, English prisons were overcrowded, and their cities plagued with a growing underclass of poor people.  The English were no longer able to transport their petty criminals to the American Colonies.  In 1786 they launched a dramatic solution to their problems:  they launched the first flotilla of prison ships to Australia, under the able leadership of Arthur Phillip.  Their purpose was to establish a prison, though Phillip believed "that there can be no slavery in a free land and consequently no slaves." 

Keneally provides an amazing narrative that is thoroughly researched.  His focus is on the English and their circumstances, but he provides a sympathetic portrait of the Aboriginal people, and the disaster for them of their first encounter with European customs and diseases.

The discussion will be led by Eileen. If you plan to attend please call or email the contact person listed below for directions or questions.

For February 23, 2020 we will read The Spy and The Traitor by Ben McIntyre (418 pages) led by Paul


Event Information

Cost: 0
No Registration Required


2:00PM - 4:00PM Sun 26 Jan 2020 ( Timezone: Central )


The Sidney Residence

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Event Contact
Gerald Talsky AM '70