Around 12 months ago, The Honest History Book became available in shops and online. We can report that the book, as of today, has sold 2060 copies, including 1880 hard copies, and is still selling. We reckon this shows there is a market for evidence-based history presenting the argument that Australia is more than Anzac – and always has been. As there should be.
One of our favourite reviews remains one of the earliest ones, from Catie Gilchrist in the Dictionary of Sydney blog:
It is a challenging, engaging, at times fist pumpingly “you have nailed what is so wrong with Australian politics and history” sort of book. It also has moments when political spines will tingle and moral goose bumps will bump. Some chapters might begin to make you feel uncomfortable about being Australian, whatever that may mean. For anyone wishing to know what “Australian values” once were, are not now, are maybe now, and might be in the future, I would suggest they should read this meticulously researched and brilliantly argued book. The authors and the publisher should be applauded for bringing this book to life and enriching our national conversations further, above and beyond tired sound bites from an Empire-centric yesteryear. Suggested readership? Everyone. To not read this book would quite simply be “Un-Australian”.
That was how we wanted the book to be received. More about the book. And we just came across these customer reviews from the Booktopia website:
Very interesting book, with lots of food for thought. This is a great read. It mentions a lot of things that I knew, but didn’t realise were so marginalised by our traditional understanding of our history and national identity. Also very brave on the part of the authors. (Readaholic, SA; 5 stars)
This is an important book in a sea of Anzac propaganda. It was a relief to find this book as the Anzac machine has ground on for years to the exclusion and therefore distortion of other historical context. (Chris, Brisbane; 4 stars)
Real history. A superb collection of papers demythologising the excessive focus on the ANZAC experience in shaping the Australian psyche and character. This is not a collection of debunks or anti-war diatribes but an unpacking of straw-effigies built around the significance of Australia’s participation in external wars. It broaches courageously the rarely spruiked, often mealy-mouthed treatment of internal historical conflicts. (Chiron, Melville WA; 5 stars)
Co-editor, The Honest History Book
20 March 2018