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On the last Sunday of February 1859, Dan Sickles, a charming young congressman from New York, murdered his good friend Philip Barton Key (son of Francis Scott Key)-who was also his wife's lover-in Washington's Lafayette Square. The shooting took place directly across the street from the White House, the home of Sickles's friend and protector, President James Buchanan. Sickles turned himself in; political friends in New York's Tammany Hall machinery, including the dynamic criminal lawyer James Brady, quickly gathered around. While his beautiful young wife was banned from public life and shunned by society, Dan Sickles was acquitted. American Scoundrel is the extraordinary story of this powerful mid-nineteenth century politician and inveterate womanizer, whose irresistible charms and rock-solid connections not only allowed him to get away with murder -- literally -- but also paved the way to a stunning career. Once free to resume his life, Dan Sickles raised a regiment for the Union political elite and went on to become a general in the army, rising to the rank of brigadier general and commanding a flank at the Battle of Gettysburg in a maneuver so controversial it is still argued over by scholars today. After losing a leg in that battle, Sickles fought on and after the war became military governor of South Carolina, and later was named minister to Spain, where he continued astonishingly to conduct his amorous assignations. With great brio and insight -- and a delight in bad behavior -- Thomas Keneally has brought to light a tale of American history that resonates with uncomfortable truths about our politics, ethics, and morality.
In 1900 Australia, a half-aboriginal, half-white man, Jimmy Blacksmith, marries a white woman and tensions escalate. Historical fiction, based on a true story.
In this spirited history of the remarkable first four years of the convict settlement of Australia, Thomas Keneally offers us a human view of a fascinating piece of history. Combining the authority of a renowned historian with a brilliant narrative flair, Keneally gives us an inside view of this unprecedented experiment from the perspective of the new colony's governor, Arthur Phillips. Using personal journals and documents, Keneally re-creates the hellish overseas voyage and the challenges Phillips faced upon arrival: unruly convicts, disgruntled officers, bewildered and hostile natives, food shortages, and disease. He also offers captivating portrayals of Aborigines and of convict settlers who were determined to begin their lives anew. A Commonwealth of Thievesimmerses us in the fledgling penal colony and conjures up the thrills and hardships of those first four improbable years.
From the acclaimed author of Schindler's List, the epic, unforgettable story of two sisters from Australia, both trained nurses, whose lives are transformed by the cataclysm of the first World War. In 1915, two spirited Australian sisters join the war effort as nurses, escaping the confines of their father's farm and carrying a guilty secret with them. Used to tending the sick as they are, nothing could have prepared them for what they confront, first near Gallipoli, then on the Western Front. Yet amid the carnage, Naomi and Sally Durance become the friends they never were at home and find themselves courageous in the face of extreme danger, as well as the hostility they encounter from some on their own side. There is great bravery, humor, and compassion, too, and the inspiring example of the remarkable women they serve alongside. In France, where Naomi nurses in a hospital set up by the eccentric Lady Tarlton while Sally works in a casualty clearing station, each meets an exceptional man: the kind of men for whom they might give up some of their precious independence--if only they all survive. At once vast in scope and extraordinarily intimate, The Daughters of Mars brings World War I to vivid, concrete life from an unusual perspective. A searing and profoundly moving tale, it pays tribute to men and women of extraordinary moral resilience, even in the face of the incomprehensible horrors of modern war.
The narrator of this novel is an unborn child, what doctors call a passenger, who is aware of the thoughts and deeds of his parents and other people around him.
The authos of the Booker Prize-winning, bestselling Schindler's List presents a novel about social justice and the inability of humans to hide from their own original sins--no matter how far they run. When Tim Shea leaves his native Ireland for Australia, he thinks he has escaped the prejudices and class structures for good. But it's only a matter of time before he realizes that his adopted country is no more free of intolerance that Great Britain.
Re-creation, based on history but told with all the urgency of fiction. No one has ever understood what drove Schindler to his heroic and cunning feats against the Nazis.
In 1980 Tom Keneally was in Beverley Hills returning from the Sorrento film festival where The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith had been showing. Looking for a new briefcase, Tom meets the Polish-Jewish Leopold Pfefferberg Page aka Poldek and his life for the next few years is taken over by this charismatic and driven man and the story he wants shared. "It's a story for you, I swear," he says to Tom. The story is of course that of â The all-drinking, all-screwing, all black-marketeering Nazi. But to me he was Jesus Christ, Oskar Schindler". And Poldek shared with Tom the story of SCHINDLER'S ARK which went on to win the Booker Prize and ultimately to become the Oscar award-winning film SCHINDLER'S LIST. Schindler, the ruined Catholic hedonist, had something ambiguous about him that appealled to the ex-seminarian Tom Keneally who still struggled with his own Catholicism and his humanist view of the world. Oskar showed that virtue, regardless of race, creed or religion, emerged where it would. Tom was a small child during WWII and these memories, along with the appeal of Schindler and Poldek's insistence, influenced him to write the book SCHINDLER'S ARK. Oskar and his Jews reduced the Holocaust - an almost untellable story in its scope and devastation - to an understandable human scale. SEARCHING FOR SCHINDLER is very much Tom's journey, he reflects on his early days as a writer with quite a bit of success - but no confidence - and how this book, the people he met, and the film it became, changed his life. From his Sydney home, he tracked down the main player's in Poldek and Schindler's story. Tom and Poldek travelled across the US, Germany, Israel, Austria and Poland interviewing survivors and discovering extraordinary stories. SCHINDLER'S ARK took a huge toll on Tom, and his family, he had never been so overwhelmed by the writing of a story. It forced him to think about Australians and their attitudes to the Holocaust, to think about the Israel / Palestine situation and about families. Not ready to give up the story of Schindler and his Jews after the enormous success of the book, Tom is there for the film adaptation and on set for the filming. Filled with stories of Steven Spielberg, Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes and many other well-known and strong characters SEARCHING FOR SCHINDLER gives Tom Keneally scope to show the wonderful, warm, thinking, compassionate and very funny man that he is.
Discusses the Gorta Mor in 1840s Ireland, the famine in British-controlled Bengal in 1943, and the string of famines in Ethiopia in the late 20th century, and explores the concept that while famine can be caused by crop failures and weather conditions, famines are worsened by man-made choices such as politics and social and religious ideology.
A young woman once told Thomas Keneally a true story: one that lodged in his mind and haunted his imagination, becoming the kernel for this enthralling novel. It tells of a marriage that becomes a nightmare, and a tragic accident that propels a distraught woman into the Australian interior, where no-one knows who she is. Gradually, she finds a sort of peace, until a flood threatens to wreck everything in its path and one of her husband's henchmen tracks her down. In a dramatic climax, she finally discovers the ugly truth about the accident she fled from, and is able to return to Sydney and move on.
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