Griffiths, Tom: The Art of Time Travel: Historians and Their Craft

Griffiths, Tom

The Art of Time Travel: Historians and Their Craft, Black Inc., Melbourne, 2016

No matter how practised we are at history, it always humbles us. No matter how often we visit the past, it always surprises us. The art of time travel is to maintain critical poise and grace in this dizzy space.

In this landmark book, eminent historian and award-winning author Tom Griffiths explores the craft of discipline and imagination that is history. Through portraits of fourteen historians, including Inga Clendinnen, Judith Wright, Geoffrey Blainey and Henry Reynolds, he traces how a body of work is formed out of a life-long dialogue between past evidence and present experience. With meticulous research and glowing prose, he shows how our understanding of the past has evolved, and what this changing history reveals about us. Passionate and elegant, The Art of Time Travel conjures fresh insights into the history of Australia and renews our sense of the historian’s craft. (blurb)

The book is reviewed for Honest History by Diane Bell. Also reviewed in The Monthly (Barry Hill), Fairfax (Jim Davidson), The Australian (Nicolas Rothwell), Australian Book Review (Mark McKenna), Paul Kiem for the History Teachers’ Association of NSW, and in The Saturday Paper.

Griffiths writes about one of his historians, Inga Clendinnen, after her recent death. An extract (about economic historian Eric Rolls) from the book (Inside Story). Tom Griffiths talks on the ABC.

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