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  • The Catalpa Rescue

  • The Gripping Story of the Most Dramatic and Successful Prison Break in Australian History
  • By: Peter FitzSimons
  • Narrated by: Michael Carman
  • Length: 16 hrs and 20 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (242 ratings)

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The Catalpa Rescue

By: Peter FitzSimons
Narrated by: Michael Carman
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Publisher's Summary

The incredible true story of one of the most extraordinary and inspirational prison breaks in history.  

Boston, 1869. Members of the Clan na Gael - agitators for an Irish republic - hatch a daring plan to free six Irish political prisoners from the most remote gaol on earth, Fremantle Prison in Western Australia. 

Under the guise of a whale hunt, Captain Anthony sets sail on the Catalpa, risking his life to rescue the men from the prison, known among the inmates as 'a living tomb'. What follows is one of history's greatest escape stories - a tale of courage and cunning that stands as an enormously significant event in the histories of no fewer than four nations.  

Americans were drawn to the story from the first, most particularly to its climactic moment. When the six escaped prisoners are found to be aboard an American whaler - the Catalpa.  

For Ireland, who had suffered English occupation for 700 years, a successful escape would be a call to arms. It would show the English that people capable of launching an escape on the other side of the world really would stop at nothing. For the English the humiliation of an escape would mean the 'Irish question' would not go away.   

And for the young Australia, the Catalpa Rescue was a demonstration that those seeking independence for their own country could triumph, that Great Britain was not unbeatable. Told with FitzSimons' trademark pace and verve, The Catalpa Rescue is a true story that has it all: adventure, politics, morality, colonialism, the fight for independence and, most importantly, the triumph of good men against all odds.

©2019 Peter FitzSimons (P)2019 Hachette Australia Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about The Catalpa Rescue

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

How did I not k ow this story?

Wow, I am embarrassed to say I knew nothing of this grand story. A sad indictment on my history teachers perhaps? As a seventh generation Australian of Irish descent - it has been a privilege to learn about these heroes.
Bravo Peter Fitz - your finest book yet!

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2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Story, however

It great story, and it shocks me how few Australians know it.
The story is told in fast paced interesting fashion, however it's somewhat of a rose tinted glasses view of the history but I don't teally have problem with that type of storytelling method.

The only real issue I have is the reader problem of mispronouncing irish people names or place name, this is always distracting but it's also painfully to listen to as Irish born Australian.

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2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

brilliant historical Australia/Irish story.

this was a superb story. really well read and very captivating. I thoroughly enjoyed this. anyone with the slightest Irish heritage should listen/read this story

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1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Meaty and captivating

Was a trek through history, had to back track a bit but glad to have read this one

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

historic and very enjoyable

narrator voice good but his Irish accent is poor. well researched and Good structure too

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Much more than the story of the Catalpa rescue

irish listeners would find the Irish accent, which was such a big part of the story, very un Irish. the narrator should have known that Irish person and place names are a minefield. He stepped on many mines. That said, his narration was excellent.
Mr Fitzsimons and his research team have excelled themselves. it is a book worthy of a place in any school library in Australia, America or Ireland under the section "History".

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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Catalpa - amazing presentation

Excellent and well worth a listen , well presented and engaging, perhaps checking pronunciation of place names would be beneficial

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fitzsimons' portrayal of the basic, honest, undeniable goodness of those brave and passionate men.

Disliked nothing. Loved the suspense, loved the fellowship of men equal in their beliefs and equal in their bravery.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

The British education system never taught us this in school

Amazing history of Australia that was never mentioned in our Australian history classes as it was so embarrassing for the British. Being of Irish ancestry myself I never knew how long and deadly a struggle the Irish Republic has had against the Brits.

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  • V
  • 09-12-2023

A fascinating yarn of a little know epic gaol breakout.

At the centre of this story is the Irish resistance. An endurance of bloody determination. A British Empire which seeks to conquer all vestiges of Irish dreams for independence. Banishment to a remote colony is seen as an alternative to martyrdom of execution. American support is crucial to this struggle. This Peter FitzSimons storytelling is expertly narrated. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.