Pembroke, Michael: Arthur Phillip

Pembroke, Michael

Arthur Phillip: Sailor, Mercenary, Governor, Spy, Hardie Grant, Melbourne & London, 2013

This is not just a book about wooden ships and big guns, although they certainly feature. It is a story of privation and ambition, of wealthy widows and marriage mistakes, of money and trade, of espionage and mercenaries, of discovery and exploration, and of hardship and illness. It is also a story of the extraordinary idealism that inspired and accompanied the founding of Australia. (blurb)

The book was launched by James Spigelman QC and reviewed in The Australian by Lyndon Megarrity.

Unlike so much history writing, this is an exceptionally readable book [says Spigelman]. The narrative never flags and the reader is borne along effortlessly through the personal chronology, whilst absorbing an enormous amount of detailed information about life in the eighteenth century.

Geoffrey Robertson QC says this of Phillip:

In the history of the struggle for human rights, Australia has some great stories to tell, beginning in 1787 when Captain Arthur Phillip devised the “First Law” that asserted “there will be no slavery in a free land and hence no slaves” many years before William Wilberforce achieved the abolition of slavery in Britain. (Dreaming Too Loud, 2013)

 

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