Freedom on the Fatal Shore
brings together John Hirst's two books on the early history of New South Wales. Both are classic accounts which have had a profound effect on the understanding of our history. They also have long been unavailable, either new or second-hand. This combined edition includes a new foreword by Hirst.
These are works that bring to vivid life the early days of convict Australia. They change our sense of how a colony that was also intended to be a prison actually worked, and how Australian democracy came into being, despite the opposition of the most powerful. Hirst overturns the standard picture, arguing: "This was not a society that had to become free; its freedoms were well established from the earliest times."
"Colonial Australia was a more 'normal' place than one might imagine from the folkloric picture of society governed by the lash and the triangle, composed of groaning white slaves tyrannised by ruthless masters. The book that best conveys this and has rightly become a landmark in recent studies of the System is J. B. Hirst's Convict Society and its Enemies." - Robert Hughes, The Fatal Shore
"Anyone with an interest in Australian political culture will find The Strange Birth of Colonial Democracy invaluable." - Professor Colin Hughes, former Chief Electoral Commissioner for the Commonwealth.