Book review of "Van Diemen's Land: an Aboriginal history" by M. Johnson and I. McFarlane. Sydney, NSW, New South Publishing, 2015. ISBN: 978-1-7422-3421-2

McGregor, Russell (2015) Book review of "Van Diemen's Land: an Aboriginal history" by M. Johnson and I. McFarlane. Sydney, NSW, New South Publishing, 2015. ISBN: 978-1-7422-3421-2. Australian Journal of Politics and History, 61 (3). pp. 450-451.

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Abstract

Perhaps it was because Keith Windschuttle ignited the history wars by claiming much of the bloodshed in Van Diemen's Land was fictitious that the Aboriginal history of this small island has been the subject of several recent books. The latest offering, by Murray Johnson and Ian McFarlane, takes the dispute to a new level — a welcome level of restraint and moderation, with none of the whooping shrillness of some earlier combatants for historical veracity and virtue. While pointing out the shortcomings of Windschuttle's interpretations, Johnson and McFarlane credit him with giving the historical profession a much-needed shake-up regarding the use and misuse of documentary evidence, on the exten of frontier violence in colonial Van Diemen's Land in particular. Their own careful evaluations of the empirical record are exemplary, recounted in clear, straightforward and unembellished prose.

Item ID: 40938
Item Type: Article (Book Review)
ISSN: 1467-8497
Keywords: Aboriginal history, Tasmanian history
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2016 05:30
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2103 Historical Studies > 210301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 100%
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