Honest History E-newsletter No. 50, 10 April 2018

ISSN: 2202-5561

New at honesthistory.net.au

Brendan Nelson’s bunker and with cap in hand: contrasts in funding our national cultural institutions

Lest We Forget again: Anzac Day is an opportunity to confront our violent frontier past and its shadow today, writes David Stephens

Denmark does remembrance differently: Peter Stanley’s words and pictures

Black armband unpicked: Mark McKenna wrote this in 1997 about Australian history but it resonates still

Book reviews

Tjanara Goreng Goreng reviews Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering Ancient Australia, by Billy Griffiths

Michael Piggott reviews Quarterly Essay 69: Moment of Truth: History and Australia’s Future, by Mark McKenna

Anzac season reposts

Five arguments for downsizing Anzac: Honest History’s David Stephens from 2015 (courtesy Teaching History)

Two Anzac speeches 2015: Douglas Newton, author of Hell-bent: Australia’s Leap into the Great War

Patriotism is not about war but in our love of the land: Paul Daley, Guardian Australia, 2016

Recently on Honest History

Uluru Statement, political advertising 1948-49, Meanjin Autumn 2018, World War I in South Australia, drowned Holocaust victims, the Australian republic, North Korea, the Commonwealth today – and a glossy catalogue of Australian military kit for sale to cashed-up overseas buyers

Centenary Watch

War Memorial’s donors still top of ‘gunrunners’ league table. The Sir John Monash Centre at Villers-Bretonneux. Minister Chester makes news. ‘Bean’ proposed as name for ACT electorate. Green screen at Campbell.

Whizzbang of the month

‘For a wounded nation that had few victories to celebrate in living memory, the war [World War II] was a powerful rallying point. Almost every family had some connection to the war, in which the Soviet sacrifice was unimaginably huge, but gradually under Putin, the darker sides of the war effort and the Stalin regime that ran the country at the time were pushed to one side. The understandable search for national pride gave way to jingoistic chest-thumping. War rhetoric was also used to colour the present-day narrative; again, Russia alone faced a rapacious enemy – this time, the US … [I]n Russia, the selective memory reached truly disturbing levels and the glorious war narrative became something akin to a civil religion, with its own saints, martyrs and unimpeachable truths.’ (Shaun Walker, The Guardian, 18 February 2018)

The Honest History Book

‘There is a politics of history as well as a history of politics. People who differ from the Anzac-weighted received view [of Australian history] have sometimes let themselves be shouted down.”We agree with what you’re saying”, we [at Honest History] have been told occasionally, “but we’ve been afraid of being thought disloyal or unpatriotic”. So Honest History has been an advocacy group – for contestability in history, for balance and for honesty, and against cant, humbug and spin.’ (p. 6)

Honest History’s Alternative Guide to the Australian War Memorial

‘A key theme of the Alternative Guide is “context”. Are there “silences” in the Memorial’s galleries which need to be filled? We suggested above that the Memorial presents an Australia-centric or parochial view of the wars in which Australia has been involved. The Guide will point to where the Memorial could consider the impacts of war on people other than Australians.’ (2nd edition, p.)

Write for Honest History

We are always looking for new writers, particularly early career historians, on the range of subjects that pique our interest. Pitch to admin@honesthistory.net.au.

Books wanted for review

In an era when authors and publishers are finding it increasingly difficult to place long-form book reviews, Honest History offers another option. Interested authors and publishers can see the sort of reviews we do (and here’s the list for 2017). Get in touch with admin@honesthistory.net.au to offer books for review.

What’s On

Send us a note (pdf) of forthcoming events needing publicity. We can then do a post announcing the event as well as promoting it on Twitter (more than 1800 followers) and Facebook (more than 1000 likes). Contact admin@honesthistory.net.au.

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