Davison, Graeme: Use and abuse

Davison, Graeme

The Use and Abuse of Australian History, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, NSW, 2000

Wide-ranging collection on many aspects of public, local and cultural history. The first chapter, ‘Introduction: Australian history on the eve of the millennium’, is clearly influenced by then current disagreements, involving prime ministers Keating and Howard as well as historians, about the nature and purpose of history. ‘No longer, it seemed, was the past the handmaiden of patriotism, but a source of division, no longer the foundation of national destiny, but a bone of national contention’. (p. 2) The author closely analyses the use made of history by both Keating and Howard, discusses Nietzsche at length and concludes with some thoughts on the appropriate role for historians.

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