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Paperback The True History of the Kelly Gang Book

ISBN: 0702231886

ISBN13: 9780702231889

The True History of the Kelly Gang

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. "I lost my own father at 12 yr. of age and know what it is to be raised on lies and silences my dear daughter you are presently too young to understand a word I write but this history is for you and...

Customer Reviews

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True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey

To Australians, Ned Kelly and his gang hold the same mystery, romanticism, and folk hero status as the Jesse James Gang holds for many Americans. In Peter Carey's wonderfully reimagined story, True History of the Kelly Gang, the life of Ned Kelly and birth of the Kelly Gang - set in mid-1800 colonial Australia - are brought to life with enchanting and engaging prose. The story is told through the memories of Ned Kelly, as he writes down the history of his life for his infant daughter. It is Carey's rendition of Kelly's voice that really makes True History a great read. The colloquial mannerisms and patterns of colonial Australian speech are believably captured, as well as Kelly's heartrending addresses to his "darling girl" (so that she may know the real story of her father and not the overblown "slander" that was written about him by the press) that he will never meet. This medium of storytelling - in letters to Kelly's daughter - is an effective method because it allows the reader to see Kelly as a man, rather than a larger than life folk hero, and as a result, sympathize with the character. Through Kelly, Carey also describes how hard life was in the Australian colony was for the poor (many prisoners - or descendents of - sentenced to live there), and especially for the Irish, whose social status was only higher than that of the Blacks (Aboriginal people). Carey's True History is written chronologically, starting with his troubled childhood, to his mother selling him as an apprentice to a bushranger (aka outlaw) when he was fourteen years old, to his first arrest, to the subsequent formation of the infamous Kelly Gang, and ending with the Gang's defeat and capture. Carey paints Ned Kelly as a boy who tried to rise above the circumstances of his birth, of a boy fiercely loyal to his family (especially to his mother - their relationship is one of the central themes of his life), of a boy who dreamed of having land and a family of his own, but who in the end could no longer stand the injustices rained upon him and his family. Like the Robin Hood of the Outback, Kelly committed his first robbery so that he could pay for the release of his mother who had been wrongfully jailed. Throughout his life, Kelly maintained a devotion to knowing the truth about things and a desire to ensure that others knew the truth about him. Carey gives a voice to Kelly's wishes and gives the world the True History. --Charlotte Arneson

The Great Australian Novel.

This is one of the few great "factional" works of literature. Most attempts in making novels of real life people tend to fail. Exceptions are Mailer's The Executioner's Song and Capote's In Cold Blood. Along with Kelly the central characters of these stories met their fate in the same way - executed by the state. And now in Carey's True History of the Kelly Gang we learn of Ned's inevitable march to the gallows. Through these tales we may understand what motivates society's criminals. In bringing Ned back to life Peter Carey has done this brilliantly.In the True History Carey has looked anew at a timeless story. One which is just as relevant today. How much is one's environment responsible for the illegal actions of an otherwise decent man. Yet, despite all his disadvantages, Ned Kelly emerges as a man of much depth, compassion and intelligence. Ned cared much for his fellow Irish-Australians and the other dispossessed choking under the English yoke in the colony of Victoria in the nineteenth century.What'smore I loved how Carey has truly captured Ned's voice. A voice that shows a lack of education but a great depth of insight and understanding of his times. And what exciting times they were.A great book by a writer who has now reached the height of his powers. If one wants to understand what, hopefully, lies at the heart of the Australian character then this is, as Ned's mother would say, the effing book.

An Adjectival Wonder

History has always been written by the victors of wars, those adhering to the prevailing ideology of the day, or the survivors. In Peter Carey's new novel, the best this wonderful writer has yet produced, history gets told by Ned Kelly, the mythic Australian bush-ranger, who is none of those things. The result, Carey tells us, is a "true" history, told in the first-person voice of Kelly, a voice of Faulknerian sweep and rhythm written in a style based on real surviving letters in Kelly's own hand. And what a voice it is. Sentences run on, they lack punctuation or accurate grammar, they fold into themselves, or whip from emotion to emotion, subject to subject. Yet Carey is always in control of the sentence, using it to charm, inform,and manipulate.The precise nature of Ned Kelly's lawlessness is central to Carey's book, for most of Kelly's crimes are seen as reactions against a cruel and unjust system being enacted against immigrants by the predominantly British system in Australia. For example, when Kelly is accused of stealing another horse, but when the case comes to trial the dates do not match up, the accused being out of the area when the theft was alleged to have taken place. The result of the trial is still a conviction. Kelly is found "guilty of receiving a horse not yet legally stolen." Finally, when Ned Kelly and his three companions are being hunted for the attempted murder of a policeman-something Kelly denies in his history-there is a shootout at Stringybark Creek resulting in the deaths of three constables. Kelly realizes that the only way to discourage the locals from turning them in is to pay them more than the reward money being offered by the authorities. After some audacious bank robberies to raise such funds the Kelly gang are cornered in Mrs. Jones' hotel in Glenrowan. Three are killed and Kelly is captured in his newly created(and now iconic) suit of armor. In 1880 he was tried and hanged. Kelly is a victim, like Jack Maggs in Carey's last novel, of a system that pulls him into a life of crime and judicial punishment. As Maggs is apprenticed to a house-breaker in Victorian London, so Kelly is apprenticed to a bush-ranger in this novel. They struggle, feeling that they can escape their lot in life, but the system pulls them down. Both men explain themselves--Maggs in the invisible writing he leaves for his errant adopted son, and Kelly in his "true history."Carey's epigram in this book is taken from William Faulkner: "The past is not dead. It is not even past." This is his theme, for Carey is examining what it meant to be Australian in the last century and, by association, what it means today. Is it any different? Australia is still under the sovereign rule of Britain, the Republic still not realized. Carey's focus on post-colonialism and the struggle for Australian identity has clarified with every novel he has written, and it has never been clearer than here. The past is not dead, but it continues. Aus

A flesh and blood myth

Like many 19th century American outlaws have in this country, Ned Kelly has attained folkhero status in his native Australia. The impoverished, undereducated son of Irish immigrants, he ended his days at the end of a rope, a convicted thief and murderer. But many regard him as the persecuted victim of powerful English landlords and their agents, the police.Carey (winner of the Booker Prize for "Oscar & Lucinda") gives Kelly a powerful voice in this stirring, eloquent novel. Presented as a series of parcels handscrawled on assorted stained and tattered paper, including stolen bank stationary, Kelly puts his story on paper for his baby daughter and promises, it "will contain no single lie may I burn in hell if I speak false."Kelly's ungrammatical, heartfelt narrative contains not a single comma either but don't be alarmed. The writing is straightforward, conversational and impassioned. The wild Australian landscape comes alive. Events tumble after one another. Punctuation would only blunt the force of Kelly's voice.At pains to justify his life and considerate of his reader, Kelly cleans up expletive-studded dialogue without changing a word. Besides the usual dashes between first and last letters (b-----d, b----r), Carey's charming and original solution is the word "adjectival." "His hair were wild his face smudged with charcoal it were adjectival this and adjectival that." The effect is endearing.The eldest of a large brood, Kelly begins with his childhood and moves forward chronologically to reveal the events that led to his fugitive state and drove him to outlawry on a grand scale. The man that emerges is ambitious and protective of his family, if a trifle hotheaded. A would-be farmer, frustrated by poverty and the active contempt of those in power- the English - for those at the bottom - the Irish, crime is all but forced upon him and being framed to fit is his lot in life.His first crime, at age 10, was the killing of a landowner's pampered cow to feed the desperate Kelly family. His father, who did terrible time for something in Ireland, is at pains to avoid the police, but, though Ned confesses, his father is hauled off to jail and it breaks him. At 12, Ned is the man of the family, his father dead.Ned's mother, Ellen, eager to take advantage of new homesteading laws, packs up the family. But the land is poor and while Ned struggles to transform it into a farm, Ellen runs an illegal still and welcomes a lively succession of beaus.One of Ellen's men is bushranger (Australian for bandit) Harry Power who, with Ellen's connivance, takes on young Ned as an apprentice. Ned's unprofitable adventures in the bush, holding up coaches and landlords and running from hideout to hideout, instill no love of the outlaw life. Its discomforts and humiliations only reinforce his bent for farming.But, what with poor land, insufficient funds and the incessant hounding of the police, it's not to be. The Kelly family lurches from crisis to crisis, their existence

Something Worth Reading about Ned Kelly

After studying in Melbourne, Australia for about 4 years, I had fallen across texts and historical accounts on the famous Australian bushranger Ned Kelly. Most of the time, they were quite bland and very vague - what they stressed most was that Ned Kelly was someone who was a mystery, a folk tale. Another book that has dealt with trying to get into the real character of Ned Kelly was Our Sunshine. I feel that "True History of the Kelly Gang" gives us a more in depth feel into one view of what the true Ned Kelly was like. The characters in the book comes alive and at times, you forget that this was not written by Carey but by Ned himself (which is what Carey wants the reader to do). The grammatical errors and the lack of punctuation did become confusing at times but, trust me, you get used to it and it also makes the story come alive and makes it very, very believable. It is almost like the new phase of Reality TV but better.The book deals with all the events that Ned Kelly went through and Carey weaves all these events with Kelly's personal life and an example of what he might have felt during different stages of his life. The layout of the "project" is given to the reader in a package form from his younger days to his early death. It is extremely detailed and it is obvious that a lot of painstaking research was poured into the book and it is evident that Carey actually became the Ned that he was painting in his mind.This is a book that has everything - murder, love, family, loyalty, betrayal, action and most of all, it is able to draw the reader into the situation to feel what all the characters are feeling. It forces the reader to think about whether Kelly was in the right or in the wrong and it creates debate between knowledge that we all might have past before about this character. It is hard for someone who had never heard of the Kelly story before to really get into this book and to truly appreciate it, some history has to be studied. This is what makes the book fascinating as it is remarkable to see how Carey has weaved the events to make it feel like a flowing river of events. Basically, these parcels/manuscripts that have been written are from Ned Kelly himself to his daughter so as to give evidence that he is not the man the newspapers portray him as. It is a touching and very emotional account of a man that has been wronged for most of his life. But we also have to pause and think whether what all he is saying is true or what he wants to be true. As a teenager, I recommend it to all age groups (I mean, if it passes for teenagers, it should be able to pass for everyone) as it can be read on many levels - as a story or as a trip into real history.This book serves its purpose of bringing Ned Kelly to life and I salute and thank Peter Carey for doing that for me.
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