2015, 365 p.
In her wide-ranging book on DNA and history, The Invisible History of the Human Race Christine Keneally spoke of the interaction of highly personalized ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ -type family history with the Big-Data digitization processes currently being undertaken by libraries and genealogical companies across the globe. No longer limited to Births, Deaths and Marriages, both family and professional historians now browse Trove (the Australian online newspaper library) and ancestry.com finding within minutes details that would have taken years of research to uncover.
It’s interesting that within the past couple of months two professional historians have released books that contextualize their own family histories into the broader Australian story: one by Emeritus Professor Graeme Davison, and the other by a young historian, Nick Brodie. I heard and very much enjoyed Nick’s paper at the recent AHA conference (in fact, I awarded it my ‘Packer’s Prize’ for the best paper). He struck me as a particularly enterprising and forthright historian and just the sort that television producers would be looking for: young, good-looking, articulate, intelligent. (As an aside, I note that his book is marketed by SBS….) I’m interested to see how these two histories compare, written as they are by historians born forty years apart and at the two extremes of an academic career. Continue reading