The Fatal Shore

Robert Hughes

The chilling story of the brutal colonisation of Australia, this epic account by Robert Hughes is a fascinating history of the youngest and yet most ancient of continents.

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The Fatal Shore

Winner of the Duff Cooper Prize for non-fiction writing in 1987, this epic history by Robert Hughes tells the grizzly story of Australia's birth. Full of fascinating anecdotes and scholarly research, The Fatal Shore vividly evokes the conditions experienced by the guards and convicts who had been sent so far from home, and the Aboriginal population they displaced.

Production Details

The Fatal Shore book
  • Bound in full buckram, printed and blocked with a design by David Eccles
  • Set in Imprint with a variety of display typefaces
  • 16 pages of colour plates
  • 672 pages
  • 10" x 6½"

The difficult birth of a great nation

'A great achievement. Hughes has a story to tell as vivid, large-scale, and appalling as anything by Dickens or Solzhenitsyn, but one that was virtually unknown - until the writing of this splendid book'
Susan Sontag

Though a great nation has now flowered in the southern lands, the brutal colonisation of Australia was Georgian England's disgrace. The first recorded words spoken by Aborigines to the Europeans were 'Warra warra' ('Go away'), and for the next eighty years, according to broadcaster and art historian Robert Hughes, the convicts and guardsmen transported there wished they could. This is a fascinating history of the youngest, yet most ancient, of continents. With a wealth of stories, from that of Thomas Howell, shipped across the world for the theft of two hens, to the horror of Norfolk Island, where convicts would commit murder just to be removed for trial, this is by turns an enlightening and chilling book.

Trevor MacDonald’s Desert Island Companion

'I tell everyone who will listen about this book. It's about life in Georgian England and the conditions that triggered migration to Australia. Hughes, an Australian, writes with scholarship and lucidity about the ordeal endured by those sent Down Under and their heroic determination not to be broken by an inhumane system.'
Trevor McDonald, Desert Island Discs, BBC Radio 4


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