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The Art of Time Travel: Historians and Their Craft by Tom Griffiths (Black Inc.)
In this highly engaging book, celebrated Australian historian Tom Griffiths writes a deeply learned love letter to fourteen historians whose lives and work have intersected with his own. With a characteristically generous vision, Griffiths includes the writers Eleanor Dark and Judith Wright among their number. While offering us luminous portraits and discussing the endless dialogue of past and present, Griffiths also allows us a glimpse into his own biography and practice.
After meeting French walkers who quizzed him about his favourite French historians, Griffiths wonders how he would answer that question about the Australian tradition. In a series of essays, each written with a warm lucidity, Griffiths makes a case for historians such as Greg Dening, Donna Merwick and Grace Karskens as our key historical thinkers, while extending his discussion to contemplate the ‘distinctive character and quality of our historical imagination’. With understated passion and great ease, Griffiths’ book touches on the most profound questions of how history is recognised and made, making us understand how writing Australian history is always a heartfelt and creative craft.