Thursday, August 7, 2014

The National biography award winner

The ambitions of Jane Franklin by Alison Alexander has just been announced as the winner of the 2014 National Biography Award.  Jane Franklin was a writer, traveller and the wife of Tasmanian governor and Arctic explorer, John Franklin.  She was a feisty, intelligent woman who was determined to get things done both for herself and her husband as a political leader in Tasmania.  Alexander's biography of Jane is well-written and researched and the reader gets to know Jane as a woman to be reckoned with.  The biography is astutely crafted showing Jane in her many roles; she was a product of her time and yet she resisted traditional gender roles and the expectations of young ladies.  

Alison is a historian who is particularly interested in Tasmanian history. She has also written Tasmanian convicts: how felons built a free society.   She is involved in numerous historical associations in Tasmania and when writing about Jane Franklin she really tried to understand what Jane was like.  She was a puzzling woman; bossy, charming, gentle, intelligent.  Alison even visited Jane's house in London and perused books from her reading list.

This a great book for readers who love biographies, Australian history, feminism, politics or Tasmanian history.

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