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I'm just about done with Thomas Keneally's A Commonwealth of Thieves: The Improbable Birth of Australia and it was pretty fascinating. Americans are accustomed to hearing the tales of derring do from the early European settlement of our own continent, and precisely because the Australian situation was so similar in so many ways -- so familiar -- the differences loom larger in a fascinating way. That said, I'll admit that I picked up the book basically because Jews love Thomas Keneally and it had a cool title rather than out of any systematic effort to explore the history of Australia.

That said, now that I read the book, I'm interested, so it's time to go a blegging: Any worthwhile recommendations? I'd be looking for a basic introductory text, probably a bit more scholarly than Keneally's book. I really don't know anything about the subject beyond what I've now read about the first few years of settlement and a hazy sense that Australia's politics feature more America-style rightwingery than you have in other countries.

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