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In the 19th century, the Irish population was reduced by half. The Great Shame traces the three causes of this depletion: the famine, the emigrations, and the transportations to Australia. Based on unique research among little-used sources, this book traces 80 years of Irish history, told through the intimate lens of political prisoners-some of them Keneally's ancestors-who served time as convicts in Australia. From Canada to the United States, to the bush towns of New South Wales in Australia, this is a gripping narrative history of the Irish diaspora into the new world.
"In the style of the best historians, [Keneally] allows the intrinsic power of the tales he tells and the people who populate his pages to draw the reader into a fully elaborated universe." --The New York Times