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The Lost Boys of Mr Dickens: How the British Empire turned artful dodgers into child killers

Steve Harris



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Melbourne Books
01 September 2019
Prose: non-fiction; History
This is the gripping real-life story of two young boys in the 19th century sent by the British Government as impoverished and unwanted juveniles to exile to Van Diemen's Land in the world's first prison built exclusively for children.

Prejudice, moral panic, harsh justice and expedience saw unwanted boys condemned to severe isolation, solitary confinement, hard labour in chains and thrashings in a juvenile version of notorious Port Arthur, a ground-breaking chapter in the history of juvenile crime and punishment.

Some quietly endured in the hope of salvation through rudimentary trade and Biblical instruction, but others became relentlessly defiant and mutinous in a brotherhood of resistance and bullying, inexorably slipping from hope to hell.

Engrossing as a novel, this story of the death of childhood in the cradle of the world's mightiest empire, and the atmospheric tale of crime and punishment leading to a sensational murder trial is from another time but implicitly raises questions which remain with us today.
By:   Steve Harris
Imprint:   Melbourne Books
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 232mm,  Width: 154mm,  Spine: 18mm
Weight:   348g
ISBN:   9781925556988
ISBN 10:   1925556980
Pages:   272
Publication Date:   01 September 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Steve Harris has thirty years experience in journalism, media and high-performance organisations. He is the only person to have been editorial head of both of Melbourne's major media groups- Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of The Age, and Editor-in-Chief of the Herald and Weekly Times Group. He was founding Editor of The Sunday Age, and has also been CEO of Melbourne FC and founding director of the Centre for Leadership and Public Interest, and served on the boards of the Australian Children's Television Foundation and Victorian Arts Centre. Solomon's Noose is his first book. He is also the author of The Prince and the Assassin.

Reviews for The Lost Boys of Mr Dickens: How the British Empire turned artful dodgers into child killers

Steve Harris book brings to life a most bizarre social experiment and all its grotesqueness in engrossing form. Its a very human, dramatic and authentic tale, written so comprehensively that it is a service to Australian and British readers. Tom Keneally, winner of the Booker Prize and Miles Franklin Award History as suspenseful, vividly portrayed, affecting and moving as the best films and fiction. Robert Drewe, award-winning author Steve Harris skilfully portrays one of the most sobering and saddest stories in Australian history. Professor Geoffrey Blainey, AC A moving story of two boys, embedded in a penetrating and thorough study of a grim part of Tasmanias history: the harsh treatment of boys transported for often minor crimes. Alison Alexander, award-winning author Steve Harris The Lost Boys of Mr. Dickens is a marvellous book. Harris takes, as his subject matter, an important, seriously neglected aspect of our past, one which stands in urgent need of cultural rehabilitation. It is, furthermore, unputdownable history that races along at a pace that seems inherently suited for film. Pete Hay, award winning Tasmanian writer, academic and activist

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