David Hunt. 2013
Good publication: Coarse paper, wide gutter, margins. Clear black print double spaced.
Book opens flat, paperback about A5. 274pp.
This book paints the most horrifying picture of life in the late 18th Century in England and, of course, the new colony in Australia.
Life was dirty, brutal, unfair. But more horrifying than that is the depiction, the thoroughly convincing depiction, of the leaders of the time as being the most inept, incompetent, avaricious and downright stupid self satisfied criminally insane bunch of privileged madmen one could conceive.
Horrifying not only for what it depicts, of course, but for the inevitable inference we draw that it was ever thus and will be thus even now.
The book is actually a comedy. Written to make you laugh. And it works. It is excellent. It does very well what it overtly sets out to do.
Whether it covertly sets out to edify and horrify I don't know. But it certainly had that effect on me.
It stands as a classic that paints a true depiction that very much needs to be painted in a mere 274 pages. A swift comic illustration that gets the message across where perhaps a course of study, an academic tome or two, would not.
Brilliant. But awful.
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