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.
Winner, 2017 Ernest Scott Prize. Shortlisted, 2017 NSW Premier's Literary Awards and the 2017 Colin Roderick Award
‘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
‘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
‘The Art of Time Travel is in fact a manifesto for a new understanding of Australia, a new sense of country.’ —Nicolas Rothwell, The Australian
Tom Griffiths is the W K Hancock Professor of History at the Australian National University and the author of Slicing the Silence: Voyaging to Antarctica (2007), Forests of Ash: An Environmental History (2001) and Hunters and Collectors: The Antiquarian Imagination in Australia (1996). His books and essays have won prizes in literature, history, science, politics and journalism, including the Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History, the Alfred Deakin Prize for an Essay Advancing Public Debate, and the Douglas Stewart and Nettie Palmer Prizes for Non-Fiction.