Aidan Phelan - author

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Aaron Sherritt: Persona non Grata

Was Aaron Sherritt truly deserving of being labelled a traitor?

Aaron Sherritt has been deemed a traitor, a double-agent, or a victim of false accusationsfor 140 years; his story mired in slander, myths and misinformation.
The truth is always far more complex than folk tales, and the more one delves into the events of the Kelly outbreak and Sherritt’s integral role in the story of the Kellys and Byrnes, the harder it becomes to uphold the view of Aaron as a colonial Australian Judas.
In this book you will discover a perspective of the hunt for the Kellys, and Sherritt’s role in it,in a level of detail rarely seen before. You will learn of the way that the internal politics ofthe Kelly saga led to Aaron Sherritt’s tragic demise, with people from all sides turning him into a sacrificial lamb to take the heat off themselves and tarnishing his memory in the process.

Did Aaron Sherritt really betray his friends for money?
Were there others who were more deserving of such scorn and suspicion?
How did Aaron Sherritt go from everyone’s mate to persona non grata?

  • Release date: TBC
  • ISBN: 978-0-6489572-2-5
  • Genre: Non-Fiction

While there have been dozens of books written about Ned Kelly, only one of note has looked at the life of Aaron Sherritt in any detail, that being Ian Jones’ The Fatal Friendship: Ned Kelly, Aaron Sherritt & Joe Byrne (originally released as The Friendship that Destroyed Ned Kelly), which has been out of print for almost a decade. Since then advances in technology have allowed for researchers to uncover things that other historians may have missed or overlooked in previous generations, allowing for a great many assumptions and misconceptions to be challenged and debunked.

Now, Aidan Phelan dedicates a whole book to the life of Aaron Sherritt rather than rendering him as a bit part in the life of Ned Kelly. What Aaron Sherritt: Persona non Grata does in particular is chip away at the myths and slanderous misinformation that has taken root in Australian folklore in order to find the most truthful depiction of Sherritt to date. “That Aaron’s character has been painted blacker than is deserved is beyond question,” says Phelan, “By seeing Aaron’s actions in comparison with those of others who have gone without the same level of scrutiny or vitriol, we can see the inherent injustice in the way Aaron has been personified in popular culture.”

This is the first time that many readers will become acquainted with the reality of Aaron’s involvement with Joe Byrne and Ned Kelly, as well as the police. It is also the first time many will discover the stories of double-agents that were often avoiding the scrutiny of the gang’s vast network of sympathisers while allowing Aaron Sherritt to take the heat. By taking the focus away from the Kellys and their exploits it allows for a fresh and unique perspective on the incredible events of 1877-1880.

Aaron Sherritt: Persona non Grata does not yet have an official launch date, but is tentatively scheduled for release at the beginning of November 2020.

Read a short creative piece by the author about his motivation to explore the story of Aaron Sherritt here.

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