Anyone interested in Aboriginal history or race relations will probably be familiar with the work of Henry Reynolds. His books include The Other Side of the Frontier (1982), Frontier (1987), and The Law of the Land (1987). This latest book is a collection of documents, ones that provided much of the source material for Reynolds’s earlier works. In this book, he tell us in the preface, ‘our forebears speak for themselves and speak in many voices’.
Dispossession is organised into seven chapters, which deal with black–white relations thematically. Although the readings span both centuries of European settlement, there is a distinct nineteenth-century bias. Each chapter title poses a question which, one can assume, is in some cases rhetorical: ‘The Frontier: Peaceful settlement or brutal conquest?’. But the selections reveal a wide range of different attitudes towards Aboriginals, white settlement, and official policy.