FOUNDERS Magazine, Fellowship of the First Fleeters. Feb 2019
..... a real history sourced and written by a true historian whose love of research into the truth of our past bubbles out of the pages so effectively . ...... The author bases the early chapters of her history on the careful reading of original sources particularly those of the diarists Watkin Tench and David Collins. .... The heart of the story, and the focus of several chapters is the adversity, hardship and courage of the family as ‘quintessential pioneering settlers’ facing the relentless opposition of big business interests particularly in the John Macarthur era . ... here is not the arresting hyperbole of the journalist, nor the dry and detailed assiduity of the academic, but rather colonial history worth reading for its own sake and presented in an engaging and most readable style .
AMAZON Reviewer: Jim Kable
Kindle Edition Verified Purchase 1 April 2019
There is so much to like and admire about this important and extremely well-documented and sourced telling of
the background to and organisation of the First Fleet and the early colonial period .... It overturns the sensational and dare I say it salacious version as put together by Robert Hughes in his mid-1980s book - The Fatal Shore - and of a recent Television Drama series out of the UK .... titled Banished (2015). ........
This is an outstanding piece of work and should form the basis of all Modern Australian History courses in schools and should be a required reading for all new citizens - maybe a TV series to make it more accessible ......
AMAZON Reviewer: Robert Player
Paperback Verified Purchase 22 May 2019
A well researched, interesting and wonderfully readable account of the founding of Australia. The author did not merely serve up the same accounts that have become accepted truths. She researched extensively and in the process debunked many myths. She gives life to the people who had no voice, the convicts themselves......
GoodReads Reviewer: Peter Le Breton
[The book] is a brilliant and moving account of the First Fleet voyage and the colonization of Australia told, as far as possible, from the convicts’ perspective. The qualification is important because most of the convicts, who were transported to New South Wales for petty crimes, could not read or write. .... The voices and lives of the convicts themselves, even after they had served their transportation sentences (typically 7 to 14 years) and became “emancipists” are largely absent from the history we Australians learnt in school. When convicts do figure in written and film accounts, they are likely to be misrepresented in morally scathing terms as indecent and untrustworthy. Women convicts have been portrayed as prostitutes, aborigines as savages without rights. ....
Her painstaking research of the historical documents has yielded an insightful analysis of the most important events of the first settlement and the perspective of the convicts, emancipists, farmers, labourers, sailors and soldiers and women.
What impresses me most about Hall’s book is the thoroughness of her research and documentation (amateur historians can be better than professionals), and the detail in her account. She is committed to accuracy and honesty. ....
I finished the book wanting to know far more about the lives of Rope and Pulley. In my view, the book lends itself to adaptation into a TV series, with the lives of the Ropes and their clan being fleshed out imaginatively and responsibly. Meanwhile, reading the book, or some scaled down version of it, would be invaluably informative for all Australians, especially those in schools and tertiary educational institutions.