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Is History Fiction?
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In this important and timely book, John Docker and Ann Curthoys trace the history of Western historical writing, from the works of the classical Greek historians Herodotus and Thucydides to the present day 'history wars' that have polarised Australian society. What the current debate about Australia's colonial past reveals is that because the past cannot be brought back to life, history is always open to the interpretations of those in the present. Does this mean, however, that there is no way of establishing historical truth? Docker and Curthoys carefully explore this question by looking at how history has been framed by theories like Marxism, postmodernism and feminism. Along the way they do a fine job of explaining some difficult concepts and presenting their arguments in a thoughtful and balanced manner. Is History Fiction? brings together diverse viewpoints to form an intriguing narrative. For anyone who is interested in the ideas that have contributed to our understanding of the theory and practice of history, this book will be a fascinating read. And in light of the attempt by 'revisionist historian' Keith Windschuttle to rewrite Australian colonial history, Is History Fiction? is guaranteed to be both challenging and stimulating. Nick Dluzniak works for the Boroondara Library Service in Melbourne C. 2005 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors

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