Your audiobook is waiting…

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
5 out of 5 stars (17 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In Cart

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    14
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    13
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    15
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 07-11-19

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Damo JP
  • Damo JP
  • 06-10-19

Catalpa - amazing presentation

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Niall Cunniffe
  • Niall Cunniffe
  • 05-22-19

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Shakti Burke
  • Shakti Burke
  • 09-14-19

Fabulous from start to finish

Knowing the outcome at the outset ... that the rescue attempt would be successful ... only made me want to read more and egged me on as we accompany the story's heroes, intelligent men with noble altruistic motivation, as they successfully fulfil their plans, against all odds and with more than a sprinkle of the luck of the Irish. Unbelievable to think this is a true history, but it is. A deeply inspiring read; renews ones faith in the kind and ingenious human heart.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Richard Forshaw
  • Richard Forshaw
  • 09-11-19

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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Carolyn
  • Carolyn
  • 08-25-19

Meaty and captivating

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Rob Aughey
  • Rob Aughey
  • 08-20-19

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!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Vicki Reeves
  • Vicki Reeves
  • 08-09-19

Amazing story

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

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Len
  • Len
  • 08-07-19

Never heard of the Catalpa Rescue, now I know why

I have read many of Peter Fitzsimons books and cant think of any I havent loved, except for this one. Batavia and Mutiny on the Bounty were fantastic, together with his books about the First World War. The whole Catalpa story was totally uninteresting and did not involve me at all. Peter's forwards are always fantastic and I was looking forward to this book. My opinion was the whole book lacked excitement and I couldnt relate to anyone in it.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Geoff Alford
  • Geoff Alford
  • 06-26-19

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.