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The ideal concise biography of an American icon- now available in paperback for the bicentennial of his birth The self -mad e man from a log cabin, the great orator, the Emancipator, the Savior of the Union, the martyr-Lincoln's story is at the very heart of American history. But who was he, really? In this outstanding biography, award-winning author Thomas Keneally follows Lincoln from his impoverished birth through his education and presidency. From the development of his political philosophy to his troubled family life and his actions during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln is an incisive study of a turning point in our history and a revealing portrait of a pivotal figure.
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.
Marshalling the vast powers of narrative and historical re-creation that he brought to his international bestseller Schindler's List, Thomas Keneally has created a moving and provocative novel about a headstrong young Catholic priest in World War II Australia. As Sydney braces itself for a Japanese invasion, Father Frank Darragh finds his pastoral duties becoming increasingly challenging. How should he counsel an AWOL black American soldier who may face death for his involvement with a white woman? And what should he say to another woman--the distressingly beguiling Kate Heggarty--who impresses him with her virtue even as she edges toward sin? When Kate is found murdered, Darragh falls under suspicion. And even if the police clear him, his superiors--and his own conscience--may not. Office of Innocence is a book that's impossible to put down, dense with moral complexity and alive with period detail.From the Trade Paperback edition.
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.
In turn-of-the-century Australia, Tim Shea, supports his young family by running a general store in a remote riverside town, where he finds the same the same hypocrisy and snobbery which made him emigrate from Ireland, and suffers a series of misfortunes which take him to the brink of disaster. Capturing the spirit of the times, this is the mesmerising tale of a flawed hero whose stubborn integrity is nearly his undoing.
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.
Based on true events, this beautifully rendered novel from the author of Schindler's List and The Daughters of Mars brilliantly explores a World War II prison camp, where Japanese prisoners resolve to take drastic action to wipe away their shame.Alice is a young woman living on her father-in-law's farm on the edge of an Australian country town, while her husband is held prisoner in Europe. When Giancarlo, an Italian anarchist at the prisoner-of-war camp down the road, is assigned to work on the farm, she hopes that being kind to him will somehow influence her husband's treatment. What she doesn't anticipate is how dramatically Giancarlo will expand her outlook and self-knowledge. But what most challenges Alice and her fellow townspeople is the utter foreignness of the thousand-plus Japanese inmates and their culture, which the camp commanders fatally misread. Mortified by being taken alive in battle and preferring a violent death to the shame of living, they plan an outbreak, to shattering and far-reaching effects on all the citizens around them. In a career spanning half a century, Thomas Keneally has proved a master at exploring ordinary lives caught up in extraordinary events. With this profoundly gripping and thought-provoking novel, inspired by a notorious incident in New South Wales in 1944, he once again shows why he is celebrated as a writer who "looks into the heart of the human condition with a piercing intelligence that few can match" (Sunday Telegraph).
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.
Through the lens of three of the most devastating food crises in modern history--the Górta Mor of British-ruled Ireland, the great famine of British-ruled Bengal in 1943, and the string of famines that plagued Ethiopia during the 1970s and 1980s, Booker Prize-winning author Thomas Keneally vividly evokes the terrible cost of mass starvation at the level of the individual who starves and the nation that watches. Famine is widely misunderstood as a completely natural catastrophe. Keneally recounts that while the triggers--crop, pestilence, and drought--are natural, the political and ideological choices that prolong famine are man-made. Government neglect and individual venality, not food shortages, are historically the causes of sustained, widespread hunger.In Ireland, British authorities ignored the existence of a food crisis while the famished fed on diseased cattle and human remains. In Bengal, where over four million starved to death, Field Marshal Archibald Wavell's reports of people dying in Calcutta's streets and demands for relief resulted in little more than a mocking cable from Winston Churchill asking, why, if food was so scarce, hadn't Gandhi died yet? In Ethiopia, Mengistu Haile Mariam arranged for 400,000 bottles of whisky to ship to Addis Ababa from Britain to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the revolution that put him in power, while one person died every twenty minutes in Korem. These three famines are stark examples of how throughout history, racial preconceptions, administrative neglect, and incompetence have been more lethal than the initiating blights or crop failures. Keneally's startling narrative history is a sobering warning to the authorities in charge of mercy in our time to stop making choices that feed famine instead of the starving.
Thomas Keneally's literary achievements have been inspired by some of history's most intriguing events and characters, but in a rare reversal of time his brilliantly imagined new novel takes us into a near future that uncannily is all too familiar. In a detention camp where he is neither granted asylum nor readied to be sent back to his native land, a detainee bides his time. He insists on being called Alan Sheriff, a westernization of his given name; he was born in a country that had once been a friend to the United States but is now its enemy. Little else is known about Sheriff until a writer comes to interview him. Sheriff decides that the time is right to tell his visitor his story and embarks on the unraveling of events that have led to his current state with extraordinary detail--the basis of which forms this novel within a novel.Sheriff is a celebrated novelist in a country in which its brutal leader orders Sheriff to ghostwrite a work of fiction: an uneasy combination of invention, autobiography, and polemic--the very publication of which would overturn Western sanctions and shame the United States. The deadline is impossible, but the government enforcers guard his house and stalk his every move. It is not long before Sheriff becomes the tyrant's caged canary, as he races against the deadline that threatens to cost him everything and everyone he holds dear. In a work reminiscent of the classic Fahrenheit 451, Thomas Keneally has written a dazzling story of a man caught between the demands of his government and his impulse to run for his life. Provocative and possibly prophetic, The Tyrant's Novel is a literary achievement inspired by recent history's most intriguing events and characters. Here, Keneally once more combines, as he did in Schindler's List, his fictional talent with his engagement in world politics.
In the waning years of the Edwardian era, a group of gentlemen wait out a raging blizzard in the perpetual darkness of the Antarctic winter, poised for a strike at the South Pole. As the storm lifts, a new challenge faces Captain Sir Eugene Stewart - to discover which of his twenty-five carefully chosen men has become a murderer. The quest for adventure has become a quest for justice.
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.