Author(s): Tom Griffiths
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.
'The Art of Time Travel is sure-footed, subtle, and open-minded - qualities one might expect from an author so insistent on the importance of perspective. Indeed the perspectives it offers will help develop the concerns that are moving to centre stage in 21st-century Australia, and enhance a sense of attachment to this land. It is a major work.' -Jim Davidson, the Age
'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
'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
'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
'The Art of Time Travel should be in every school and library. I would design a senior history course out of it. In fact, I'd tell all students, no matter their disciplines, that if they were to imagine "the epic poem" of Australia, "the truest of histories," they might start with this book.' -Barry Hill, the Monthly
'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
'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
'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
'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
'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 rele