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Old 10-14-2012, 07:49 PM   #25
Bookpossum
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Yes, I second the thanks to Harry. I too have just finished reading the book and found it fascinating. Beautifully written and illustrated and giving a flavour of the attitudes of the time.

The event that others have written about already, where the Idle Man managed to inflict some apparently minor damage on a small child with his gun, seems to me to say a lot about the English of that time - well, probably Europeans generally - in terms of the need to report and have punished the fact that the natives dared to retaliate when the child was injured.

The brutal punishment inflicted on Aboriginals who dared to spear sheep for food (because the kangaroos had been slaughtered to make room for the sheep) and the savagery of the punishment if they actually killed or injured a white person were more extreme examples of the same attitude here in Australia. And of course the same sort of thing was happening in various other parts of the world.

It is appalling to us of course, but it was how things were at the time.

To finish on a happier note, I thought the way she ended the book was beautiful, with the image of the Nile melting into the distance and leading back to Thebes, Philae and Abou Simbel.
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