Book review of "Warrior" by Libby Connors. Sydney, NSW, Australia, Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN: 978-1-76011-048-2

McGregor, Russell (2016) Book review of "Warrior" by Libby Connors. Sydney, NSW, Australia, Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN: 978-1-76011-048-2. Australian Historical Studies, 47 (1). pp. 166-168.

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Abstract

[Extract] The subtitle suggests that this is a biography. In fact it is only partly that, and the biographical elements are not the most successful aspects of the book. Connors' real achievement lies in her depiction of the collective responses of Aboriginal people to the British intrusion into what is now south-eastern Queensland.

Insofar as it is biographical, the book recounts the life of Dundalli, a Dalla man from the Blackall Ranges inland from the Sunshine Coast. Inevitably, Connors often resorts to speculation and extrapolation from the ethnographic record to compile a coherent account of a life lived mostly on what Henry Reynolds famously called 'the other side of the frontier'. Generally, her speculations seem to have sound anthropological foundations, but there is a dangerous assumption here: that the life experiences of an individual Aboriginal person, from childhood through adolescence to adulthood, can be accurately inferred from what we know about the collective behaviour of the group to which that person belonged. Fudging the transition from collective to individual experience is the weakest point in Connors' book.

Item ID: 46069
Item Type: Article (Book Review)
ISSN: 1940-5049
Keywords: frontier conflict, Queensland, Dundalli, Aboriginal history
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2016 00:21
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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