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am 17. September 2003
"The fatal shore" behandelt auf 600 dichtbedruckten Seiten die Geschichte der Sträflingstransporte nach Australien, von ihrem Beginn 1787, bis zur endgültigen Abschaffung des Systems 1868.
Nicht nur aufgrund des Umfanges, sondern auch wegen des nicht übermäßig erfreulichen Inhaltes keine leichte Kost. Und dennoch ein sehr gutes, informatives und fesselndes Buch, mit keiner einzigen überflüssigen Seite.
Hilfreich ist auch, daß das Buch mit Fußnoten und detaillierten Quellenangaben zwar wissenschaftlich geschrieben ist, der Autor gleichzeitig aber eine sehr natürliche Sprache benützt, gespickt mit Anklängen von subtilem, bissigem Humor. (So habe ich hier zB Begriffe wie "vegetable contraception" oder "philoprogenitive" kennengelernt.)
Nicht, daß es an "the fatal shore" viel zu lachen gab.
Dennoch räumt Hughes mit einigen der gängigen Vorurteile auf. War das Leben für alle Sträflinge die Hölle? Gab es mehr "Richard Morgans", oder mehr "Rufus Dawes'"? Waren die Sträflinge tatsächlich alles arme Verzweifelte und Freiheitskämpfer, oder nicht doch auch ein paar "echte" Verbrecher? Wer waren sie? Wie kam es überhaupt zur "Zwangsbesiedelung"? Was hatte es mit den tatsächlich höllischen Strafkolonien auf Van Diemen's Land und Norfolk Island auf sich? Was war mit den Aboroginies?
Das nur eine Auswahl der Fragen, die Hughes aufwirft und beantwortet.
Er wendet dabei auch eine sehr kluge Methode an um den Leser zu fesseln, indem er der namenlosen Masse Name, Schicksal und Stimme durch Einbindung vieler Primärquellen wie Briefe oder Memoiren gibt. Das funktioniert wunderbar, denn ich habe in diesem Buch über sehr viele Menschen gelesen, deren weiteres Schicksal ich gerne erfahren hätte. Oder vielleicht auch besser nicht. Denn diese Menschen haben tatsächlich gelebt - und gelitten.
Ein großartiges Buch.
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am 13. Juni 2000
This colorful and splendidly researched history of Australia's founding is breathtaking in its scope. The book is not only a story of Australia's beginnings, but an impressively researched history on the political pressures in England that led to the founding of Australia as a penal colony and of the struggles over penal reform. Perhaps most fascinating, and Hughes never fails to communicate his own sense of fascination, is the microcosm Australia offers as a society founded from wholecloth and how it evolved into a complex society. I read this book right after reading Son of the Morning Star (another superb book) and was very much struck between the parallels between how Americans who settled the West viewed and treated Native Americans and the Australian settlers' views of the aborigines whom they slowly but surely displaced. The wonderful stories would stand on their own even if ineptly told, but they really come alive with Hughes' writing style, which would be the pride of any novelist...Bravo!
0Kommentar| 2 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
Fatal Shore is a rare achievement in history writing: truly fascinating history by a wonderful writer. As a Time magazine writer and art critic, Robert Hughes obviously knows his way around the English language and shows it by crafting readable, entertaining history. But the book's true strength lies in Hughes' -- who is Australian -- brutally honest assessment of his country's fascinating founding. Hughes' voice makes the reader feel like he is getting Australia's story from the famously blunt lips of an Aussie over a few beers in an outback tavern. And why not? Good history SHOULD be brutally honest, not watered down with political correctness or the dry touch of an academic. Particularly strong are sections in which Hughes tears down the fiction -- created by Australians as an defensive reflex against their less-than-proud background -- which says the country's first convict citizens were mostly unjustly convicted and primarily political prisoners. The book is peppered throughout with gritty anecdotes and based on solid and extensive research. I had no idea Australia's founding was this interesting. Hughes shows us what an incredible tale it really was.
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am 23. Juli 1999
I have travelled to Australia, thus far, eight times since 1990. In all of my travels I have focused on learning the evolutionary significance of Australia's fascinating fauna, as well as the the culture of its people, past and present. But in all of my travels in Australia (I have yet to go to Tasmania) I have never learned so much about its people (non-Aboriginal) and their colonization, as I have from reading The Fatal Shore. I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a historian or even one who "likes" history. But Robert Hughes's book was so well written, and so insightful, that I can truly say I could not put it down. What I learned from this book really put my travels to Australia in perspective, and it made me want to learn so much more. If I could, I would give this book ten stars! This book is an absolute must-read for anyone who is interested in travel to Australia, or wants simply to learn about Australia's fascinating, albeit horrific, past. Robert Hughes has quite a talent for impecable research as well as for bringing his readers into the heart of unimaginable horrors. Australians need not be ashamed of their past (as is implied in the book) - on the contrary - they should relish in their success as a colorful and awe-inspiring nation (which is something they already do)!
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am 26. März 1997
Hughes has done the nearly impossible-written a page turner of a social history. Roughly the first third of the book is in fact mostly about Georgian England and the "Hogarthian" conditions that led to the system of transprtation, the "First Fleet" and the founding of Australia.

He amply demonstrates one of his basic theses: Australia conclusively disproves the genetic theory of transmission of criminal behavior: the continent was first populated by 160,000 theives, burglars, pickpockets & etc., and eventually became one of the most respectable, law abiding societies on earth.

His other pregnant conclusion, that the Australian sublimation of the "convict stain" of their past kept Austrailians from coming to terms with their convict origins until the last 20-30 years seems spot on.

The book is full of colorful characters, glorious detail and paints a panorama of a system and a period in the history of two societies that deserves a careful read from anyone even vaguely interested in either country, penology or just cracking good social history.

I loved it!
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am 25. Juli 2000
At this time of focused international interest in Australia, it is incumbent upon any thoughtful reader to view this diverse and exciting continent through the lense of Hughes' profound history of the nation's founding. I have never been to Australia, but have known several individuals who came to America for education and career reasons. At first blush, it might seem to an American that Australia shares much common experience with our own: British colonial origins, settlement of a vast western frontier, the oppression of an indigenous people, strong Judeo-Christian traditions, etc. These factors are all present. However, understanding the differences between the Australian and American experiences must start with an appreciation of the role that the English "transportation" system played in shaping Australia. There is no better treatment of this subject than "The Fatal Shore." It is truly a great cultural history of Australia's beginning.
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am 13. Mai 1998
Sham history is still history. I've read reviews of this fine piece of scholarship, including some presented on this very page, which attempt to undermine its validity by claiming that much of its content is anecdotal; based on folk tales and hearsay. I can only respond by noting that this fact adds to the color and elegance of the text. Few historical theses can claim to be both scholarly and entertaining. This one is. It reads like a novel. It instructs like a textbook. Its arguments are convincing and substantive. Its stories are humorous and horrifying. My only disappointment, which is actually only indirectly related to the book, came from the text of Mr. Hughes' statement to the faculty of the University of Melbourne upon his receiving an honorary Doctor of Letters. He apologized for his lack of formal education. No apologies are necessary.
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am 2. Januar 1999
What a magnificent book! The prose marches along vigorously, as if written by Johnson or Churchill. The subject matter is sometimes shocking and salacious, but always gripping. I can't enthuse enough about it. I laughed at times, and cringed at others -- all the while keeping my eyes transfixed to the pages. I have read, and re-read Hughe's stunning descriptions of the heaving South Pacific, and have panted at the prospect of standing at the helm of a transport ship navigating the treacherous "malachite" waters, or negotiating the jagged and jutting rocks along the coast of Van Diemen's land. It may be "sham history" as certain vapid reviewers claim, but it is living, breathing history! -- and worth every red cent.
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am 2. August 1998
This is a great book, one of the finest history books I have read covering Australia. I found the book easy to read, the narrative flowed along full of facts but never dull. Its not stuffy and boring like a lot of history books but a very good yarn. I have sent copies to friends around the world and they have all enjoyed the book as well. Its history at its best, some very interesting stories about Norfolk Island and Port Arthur and cannibal convicts, a very enjoyable tale. Maybe some Australians are too happy with this side of our history but never the less its still our history and this book makes it enjoyable to read about.
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am 27. November 1999
Did you like the facts in 'The Fatal Shore'? Then you should also read 'His Natural Life' by Marcus Clarke. Though factfiction, this book goes on where Mr. Hughes' left us.
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