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Atkinson AT. Do good historians have feelings?. 2004.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://e-publications.une.edu.au/1959.11/1797
Do good historians have feelings?
In reading our way through Australia's History Wars we often see the work of revisionists condemned as chilling or cruel. But the condemnation rarely amounts to an argument. It is usually meant as a kind of supplement to the writer's main points. However valid it might be as a moral judgement, from a scholarly point of view it is not clear what weight it is meant to carry. Robert Manne, writing in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' about Keith Windschuttle's 'The Fabrication of Aboriginal History', volume one, remarks on the "pitilessness" but then he quickly passes, in the same sentence, to a detailed account of the book's "internal self-contradictions". In 'Australian Historical Studies' Stuart Macintyre sets the same work within the broad sweep of history-writing since the eighteenth century and then similarly goes on, in his final sentences (about the counting of deaths), to suggest that while historians might disagree on such points, "at the very least we expect to find sympathy and compassion for the victims. I do not see it", he observes, "in this book".