No matter how practised we are at history, it always humbles us. No matter how often we visit the past, it always surprises us. The art of time travel is to maintain critical poise and grace in this dizzy space.
In this landmark book, eminent historian and award-winning author Tom Griffiths explores the craft of discipline and imagination that is history.
Through portraits of fourteen historians, including Inga Clendinnen, Judith Wright, Geoffrey Blainey and Henry Reynolds, he traces how a body of work is formed out of a life-long dialogue between past evidence and present experience. With meticulous research and glowing prose, he shows how our understanding of the past has evolved, and what this changing history reveals about us.
Passionate and elegant, The Art of Time Travel conjures fresh insights into the history of Australia and renews our sense of the historian’s craft.
Publisher’s website: Black Inc
Praise for The Art of Time Travel:
‘Griffiths’ luminous new work underlines the inarguable point that if we are truly to understand our history, we must get to know those who wrote it. A must-read for anyone interested in Australia’s past.’ —Tim Flannery
‘If the past is a foreign country, Tom Griffiths makes the perfect travelling companion. Erudite but honest. Generous yet discerning. Warm, perceptive and nothing if not elegant. Let him be your eyes and ears on our shared history. Most of all, follow his heart.’ —Clare Wright, author, historian and winner of the Stella Prize
‘Tom Griffiths has the rare, reconciling capacity to envisage Australian history as a symphony, created by many voices – the discordant as well as the harmonious – that tells an evolving, bracing story of who we are. Essential reading.’ —Morag Fraser AM
‘Greatly enriches our understanding of Australia past and present … the book teems with fresh insights. Griffiths poses searching questions, which yield illuminating and often exhilarating answers.’ —Ken Inglis AO, award-winning author and historian
‘A rare feat of imagination and generosity. No other historian has so eloquently and powerfully conveyed history’s allure. The Art of Time Travel will remain relevant for decades to come.’ —Mark McKenna, award-winning author and historian
‘An historian at the height of his powers. This is book is not only a meditation on the past, but a rallying cry for the future, in which Australia’s history might be a source of both unflinching self-examination and poetic wonder.’ —Brigid Hains, editorial director, Aeon Magazine
‘Events happen, but history doesn’t write itself. By exploring the intellectual and emotional backstories of fourteen people who have crafted Australian history, Tom Griffiths shows how and why it is done. In the process, he has created a beautiful work of history.’ —Julianne Schultz AM FAHA, founding editor of Griffith Review
‘Sharp insights, thoughtful judgment, a generous spirit – Griffiths’ panorama of Australian historians shows why any similar survey conducted in the future will include his own artful work among the honoured.’ —Stephen J. Pyne, Arizona State University
‘An enthralling account of the intellectual rediscovery of Australia by fourteen of its most innovative explorers, vividly brought to life by a gifted interpreter. Tom Griffiths’ lyrical prose is mesmerizing in its mastery of Australia’s conjunctures of land and lineage, history and memory, fact and fable.’ —David Lowenthal, University College London
‘Suitable for lovers of Australian history, biography and culture, The Art of Time Travel is a graceful and lively work animated by Griffiths’ experience and enthusiasm’ —Books+Publishing