6 Degrees of Separation: True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey

How the meme works

Books can be linked in obvious ways – for example, books by the same authors, from the same era or genre, or books with similar themes or settings. Or, you may choose to link them in more personal ways: books you read on the same holiday, books given to you by a particular friend, books that remind you of a particular time in your life, or books you read for an online challenge. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the ones next to them in the chain. You can read all the details HERE at Books Are My Favourite and Best.

The Starting Book

“I lost my own father at 12 yr. of age and know what it is to be raised on lies and silences my dear daughter you are presently too young to understand a word I write but this history is for you and will contain no single lie may I burn in Hell if I speak false.” In True History of the Kelly Gang, the legendary Ned Kelly speaks for himself, scribbling his narrative on errant scraps of paper in semiliterate but magically descriptive prose as he flees from the police. To his pursuers, Kelly is nothing but a monstrous criminal, a thief and a murderer. To his own people, the lowly class of ordinary Australians, the bushranger is a hero, defying the authority of the English to direct their lives. Indentured by his bootlegger mother to a famous horse thief (who was also her lover), Ned saw his first prison cell at 15 and by the age of 26 had become the most wanted man in the wild colony of Victoria, taking over whole towns and defying the law until he was finally captured and hanged. Here is a classic outlaw tale, made alive by the skill of a great novelist.

I have not read this book and probably won’t be reading it. I had enough Westerns and that sort of story when my Dad was alive, well, and in command of the tv to last me a lifetime!

My Chain

Book One


I’m starting with the first book that comes to mind. In this case it is a favorite of my Dad’s, True Grit (though he knew the John Wayne film–not sure if he ever read the book). Mattie is 14 to Ned Kelly’s 12 when she is orphaned. She and U.S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn hunt down his killer. Some similarities in the stories.

Book Two


A book I know my Dad read that has a John Wayne/Western-ish topic (and a very serious topic) is Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown. It presented a very different version of the West from the John Wayne one. It was possibly the first book to tell the truth about what the United States did to the Native American population.

Book Three


A novel that deals with U.S. “Indian” policy in a different way–the institutionalization of children to force them to “assimilate” is This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger (link is to my review).

Book 4


Another population treated badly by U.S. policy are the incarcerated–especially African American men. In this novel they are  young men sentenced to “reform school” in Florida. The Nickel School has a lot in common with the School in This Tender Land. The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (link is to my review).

Book 5


Nanci Kincaid’s novel has a link with incarceration in the state of Florida–a chain gang member who befriends a young girl. (My review was lost on my old blog). As Hot as it Was You Out to Thank Me by Nanci Kincaid is just $1.99 for Kindle right now.

Book 6


Rory’s life isn’t that much like Berry’s in As Hot As it Was, but it also isn’t that much different. I’d put money on someone in that trailer park or in Rory’s family being in prison or just out of prison. Certainly someone has seen the inside of a jail cell. Plus it’s in Nevada where a lot of John Wayne movies could have been set and might have been film. That’s almost full circle!  Girlchild: A Novel by Tupelo Hassman (link is to my review).


Why not join in the Six Degrees fun next month when we will start our chains with Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason which, for once, I just bought.

23 thoughts on “6 Degrees of Separation: True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey

Add yours

  1. Love that you started out with your dad’s favourite genre 🙂 Made me think about my own dad’s reading habits – I don’t consider him a ‘reader’ in the sense of reading for pleasure, and yet when I was growing up, he was reading and writing every night (all work and interest related).
    Hope you get the chance to read Sorrow & Bliss before next month’s chain.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this comment, “when my Dad was alive, well, and in command of the tv”. As Mr Gums gets older I am finding that more and more he is in command of the TV. I need to start standing my ground a bit more!

    Anyhow, I enjoyed your chain though it gave me the guilts, as I bought Dee Brown’s book back in the early 80s (or maybe early 90s) and I keep telling myself I’ll read it. I also want to read Colson Whitehead. So much to read.

    PS I rather liked Westerns on TV when I was growing up. Indeed, I loved them!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I enjoyed Westerns on TV when I was growing up too and read as many as I could borrow from the children’s library. But I haven’t read any recently, except for True Grit – and I began my chain with that book too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great chain Lisa. I like how you went the route of persecution. I read This Tender Land and The Nickel Boys and they were both so heartbreaking. I went a very different route though.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I do like the sound of The Nickel Boys and This Tender Land. Many people have recommended William Kent Kreuger to me, though unfortunately he doesn’t appear in my library catalogue at all. I did find The Nickel Boys though, so I have added that to my list.

    The last Dana Stabenow Kate Shugak book I read talked about the policy of sending Inuit and other Native American people in Alaska away – sometimes as far as California – to attend schools far from their homes, and how a hard-fought campaign finally managed to get high schools built more locally. Where did people get all these ideas in the past? I suppose it was white arrogance at its worst (not that we are much better now.)

    Thanks for such an interesting list.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Brilliant, Lisa. As you can see, I found you. Don’t know why your link didn’t work on your post.

    Anyway, what a lovely chain. I always wanted to read “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee” but somehow never got to it. I have read “The Nickel Boys”, though, and it is fantastic.

    You have created a great chain.

    Thanks for visiting my Six Degrees of Separation which ended with The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, the lovely world of computers and the internet. Something always goes wrong.

        Just for your information and as it might happen on other blogs, as well. When I click on your name of the post, I get the following information:

        Profile Not Available

        The Blogger Profile you requested cannot be displayed. Many Blogger users have not yet elected to publicly share their Profile.

        If you’re a Blogger user, we encourage you to enable access to your Profile.

        And this is the link:

        As I said, I found you since we “talked” before. And it might have just been a glitch, Let’s hope so.


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