Sense and Nonsense in Australian History

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Sense and Nonsense in Australian History represents a lifetime's original reflection by Australia's most innovative and penetrating historian. Included here are classic essays on the pioneer legend, Australian egalitarianism and colonial culture. There are celebrated critiques of The Tyranny of Distance, multiculturalism and nationalistic history, as well as a substantial essay on Aboriginal dispossession and the history wars.

In Sense and Nonsense in Australian History, John Hirst overturns familiar conceptions and deepens our sense of Australia's development from convict society to distinctive democracy.

‘One of the nation's most independent and original historians’ —Geoffrey Blainey

‘John Hirst is the gadfly of Australian history, stinging and provocative’ —Stuart Macintyre

‘Essential reading for those who want to ponder, let alone write and teach about, Australian history’ —Robert Murray, Weekend Australian

Sense & Nonsense in Australian History is an entertaining collection of essays which deserves to be read, re-read and debated by Australians interested in national identity.’ —Lyndon Megarrity, Overland

‘A powerful controversialist … a brilliant historian’ —Australian Book Review

‘One of Australia’s most productive historians’ —Ross Fitzgerald, Sydney Morning Herald

‘Hirst’s fine discriminations and historical digging helps us understand why Australia is one of the oldest and most stable democracies in the world’ —Age

‘Punchy, learned, witty’ —Canberra Times

‘A stimulating and engaging contribution to current debates over Australian history’ —Bulletin

John Hirst was a member of the History Department at La Trobe University from 1968 to 2007. He has written many books on Australian history, including Convict Society and Its Enemies, The Strange Birth of Colonial Democracy, The Sentimental Nation, Sense and Nonsense in Australian History and The Shortest History of Europe.