History talks about…

Title: The uses and abuses of history

Author: Margaret MacMillan

The author is an historian, so she writes it from a historian’s point of view. This book sets out to provide evidence of the uses and abuses of history. The author mentions that history has become a popular topic, not only historians but more and more people, especially politicians, are very interested in using history for justify their political policies. 

History provides lessons, the author suggests, however how to learn this lesson and who owns history are all questionable. Examples that the author has given, range from Europe experience of two world wars, North American history, history of Asian giants like India and China to South Africa. Macmillan expresses her concern of misuses, and abuses of history for purposes of nationalism, and political empowerment.  

How interpreting history is always, as I think, a difficult task. Hitler used history to incite fear, resentment and hatred in Germany which eventually led to world war II and cost millions lives. That is only one of examples that the author talks about.  

I think all those examples are not deep analysed, there is not much more background information. For example, the author raises concerns about rising Indian nationalism, but fails to explain why. She does not mention colonialism and post colonialism in Indian history which shapes a nation. Similar to Tibet, the author fails to mention the long time tensions brought about by involvement of CIA and British government fifty years ago.  

Historical events don’t occur in a vacuum, they are always the result of a chain of events. History needs to be judged not by ideology, but by relevance to the past and objective truth. It is this part that often goes wrong collectively.  

If you like reading history, so you should read this.   

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Ned Kelly Awards Shortlist 2009

The short list for the Ned  Kelly awards for crime writing have been announced. The winners will be seen on August 28 In Melbourne, when the satirical crime novelist Shane Maloney will receive a lifetime achievement award.

Best first fiction
Ghostlines, Nick Gadd
Crooked, Camilla Nelson
The Build Up, Phillip Gwynne

Best Fiction
Bright Air Barry Maitland
Deep Water Peter Corris
Smoke & Mirrors Kel Robertson

Best True crime
The Killing of Caroline Byrne, Robert Wainwrights
The Tall Man, Chloe Hooper
A Question of Power, Michelle Schwarz

The SD Harvey Short Story
Fidget’s Farewell, Scott McDermott
Farewell My Lovelies, Chris Womersley
Fern’s Farewell, Bronwyn Mehan
Farewell to the shade, Cheryl Rogers

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2009 Children’s Book Week – Winners

Parramatta City Library is happily to post this years’s Children’s book week winners on this blog. These are great books and the authors are deserve appreciation from all of us.

Older Readers Book of the Year 2009

NOTE: These books may be for mature readers 

Tan, Shaun       Tales from Outer Suburbia         Allen & Unwin            WINNER

Eaton, Anthony          Into White Silence      Random House Australia   HONOUR

French, Jackie     A Rose for the Anzac Boys   HarperCollins Publishers  HONOUR 

Younger Readers Book of the Year 2009

  Millard, Glenda,Illus: King, S M  Perry Angel’s Suitcase  ABC Books       WINNER                       

Bateson, Catherine             The Wish Pony   Random House Australia   HONOUR

Gleitzman, Morris                    Then Viking, Penguin Group Australia    HONOUR  

Early Childhood Book of the Year 2009

 Graham, Bob            How to Heal a Broken Wing     Walker Books      WINNER

King, Stephen Michael              Leaf                Scholastic Australia      HONOUR

Sullivan, Rosemary;Illus: Huxley, Dee   Tom Tom  Working Title Press HONOUR

Picture Book of the Year 2009

NOTE: Intended for an audience ranging from birth to 18 years. Some books may be for mature readers 

Dunstan, Kylie    Collecting Colour   Lothian Children’s Books, Hachette  WINNER

Ottley, M ; Text Marsden, J    Home and Away Lothian Children’s Books, Hachette  HONOUR

Thompson, Colin        The Big Little Book of Happy Sadness  Random House Australia HONOUR  

Eve Pownall Book of the Year 2009

NOTE: Intended for an audience ranging from birth to 18 years. Some books may be for mature readers 

Hall, Lincoln         Alive in the Death Zone  Random House Australia      WINNER

Duborsarky, Ursula;Illus: Tohby Riddle  The Word Spy    Viking, Penguin Group Australia HONOUR

Greenwood, Mark ;Illus: Lessac, Frané  Simpson and his Donkey  Walker Books   HONOUR  

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