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The Catalpa Rescue

The Gripping Story of the Most Dramatic and Successful Prison Break in Australian History
Narrated by: Michael Carman
Length: 16 hrs and 20 mins
Categories: History, World
4.5 out of 5 stars (99 ratings)

Non-member price: $44.95

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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

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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".

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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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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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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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Amazing story

Slow to start, but unputdownable at the end. Highly recommend putting in the effort. A truly amazing story.

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Interesting enough

I’d never heard of the Catalpa rescue before and found that to be most interesting. Not sure how much emotional imbalance was in this book. Worth the listen though.

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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

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A great story.

Thanks for sharing the story in your inimitable way Peter. I'd never heard of it and it adds more to the fascinating history of WA, Freo and the Irish. Loved the narration.

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Excellence in a book.

Again another brilliant book by Peter. Brilliantly delivered by the narrator. Bravo to you both.

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Profile Image for Garrett Prestage
  • Garrett Prestage
  • 13-05-2019

Terrific yarn

As always, Peter Fitzsimons tells a great story. I don’t know how historically accurate most of his stories are but honestly does it matter? Peter makes history come alive and gives the characters purpose

My main criticism is minor, but it’s real. While Michael Carman did a great job narrating, the way Peter writes I can hear his voice in my head throughout. He’s a born storyteller and I just wish he’d narrate his own stories.