Honest History E-newsletter No. 40, 13 December 2016

ISSN: 2202-5561 ©

SEASON’S GREETINGS

This is our final newsletter for 2016. Our next edition will be around the end of January. Meanwhile, we wish all readers, followers and fellow-travellers the very best for Christmas, Hanukkah, Hogmanay, Mohammed’s birthday, New Year, Omisoka, Orthodox Christmas, The Falls Festivals (all four of them), Xmas, Yule and any other celebratory occasions falling due.

We will be adding new material to the Honest History site during the rest of December and January but not as frequently as usual. We will still Tweet (though our Twistory elf is taking a break – those who follow us on Twitter will know what Twistory is) and occasionally post on Facebook. (Links to our Twitter and Facebook presences can be found on our home page.)

THE HONEST HISTORY BOOK

Read more about the book. Please consider also donating to the UNSW Press Literary Fund. It supports the production of lots of books, including ours.

New on the Honest History site

Canberra holiday attractions: three new exhibitions

A welcome new initiative at the Australian War Memorial: Peter Stanley reviews The Holocaust: Witnesses and Survivors, a new permanent exhibition at the Memorial

Pets and advertisements: Vance Gainsborough reviews The Popular Pet Show at the National Portrait Gallery and The Sell at the National Library, two new exhibitions in Canberra

Christmas reading: new books reviewed

What Honest History read and reviewed during 2016: a round-up of book reviews on the Honest History site in the past year

The Last Battle: Michael Piggott reviews a new book by Bruce Scates and Melanie Oppenheimer on the struggles of soldier settlers after World War I

Offshore: John Myrtle’s review note on Antipodes: In Search of the Southern Continent, by Avan Judd Stallard, about exploration in the South Seas

Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18

More in our series giving a different view of Australia a century ago. Far from the terrible winter on the Somme, Australia was recovering from the coal strike and worrying about radical agitators.

Honest History document: history as she was taught

Some professional advice for history teachers; from The Catholic Press (Sydney) 1918

Recently on the Honest History site

A round-up of recent posts on our site (for those who came in late)

Centenary Watch

This column is still going strong three years in, even as Peak Anzac passes

Whizzbangs

Hardening of errors. ‘[T]he more the historian seeks to please his generation or serve his government or support any cause save that of the truth, the more he tends to confirm his contemporaries in whatever they happen to want to believe, the more he hardens the age in its favourite and fashionable errors.’ (Herbert Butterfield, British historian, ‘The dangers of history’, in History and Human Relations, 1951)

Stepping it up. ‘Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may, by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain the suffrages [votes], and then betray the interests, of the people.’ (James Madison, Federalist Papers, No. 10, 1787)

Doublethink. ‘The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink.’ (George Orwell, 1984, 1949)

Not a straight line. ‘One of the “liberal” values that has been overturned is apparently basic respect for knowledge. Wilful ignorance and inadequacy is now lauded as authenticity. However, the biggest casualty for my generation is the idea that progress is linear. Things really would get better and better, we said; the world would somehow by itself become more open, equal, tolerant, as though everything would evolve in our own self-image.’ (Suzanne Moore, born 1958, The Guardian, 24 November 2016)

Madmen in black? ‘I feel like America is being flashed by a giant neuralyzer, à la “Men In Black.” We are in danger of forgetting what has happened and losing sight, in the fog of confusion and concealment, of the profundity of the menace taking shape right before us. That is our challenge: To see clearly what this deceiver wants to obscure; to be resolute about that to which he wants us to be resigned; to understand that Time’s man of the year is, by words and deeds, more of a madman of the year.’ (Charles M. Blow, New York Times, 8 December 2016)

What’s On

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Honest History is a coalition of historians and others supporting the balanced and honest presentation and use of Australian history.Honest History is incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act (A.C.T.) 1991
President: Professor Peter Stanley; Secretary: Dr David Stephens
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