Review Blog

May 09 2019

The Catalpa rescue by Peter FitzSimons

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Hachette, April 2019, ISBN: 9780733641244.
(Age: Senior Secondary - Adult) In this book, Peter FitzSimons tells the true story of the Irish fight for independence from British occupation, the life sentences for six of the captured Fenian rebels, including transportation to a harsh prison in Fremantle, Western Australia in the 1860s and a consequent daring Irish-American rescue attempt using a disguised whaling ship, the Catalpa.
Like all great escape stories this exciting tale includes portraits of courageous and principled individuals, outstanding leadership, adventure, a thrilling chase and a triumphant escape. The story is told with excellent footnoted detail and offers a strong glimpse of life in British occupied Ireland, the prideful weakness of the British colonial gaol administration in Australia and the strength of American Irish support for Irish independence. The author includes useful maps and photographs showing the individuals and settings featured in the gripping story.
Paul Pledger

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