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Rhys Isaac

Dear Editor,

Dr Jenna Mead claims, among other things in her most recent attempt to discredit The First Stone, that I have ‘invented dialogue’ and written ‘hypothetical meetings with imaginary characters’. All the conversations and encounters in the book are documented in detailed, scrupulous notes. This includes my account of a telephone conversation between Dr Mead and me, which she would perhaps prefer to think of as a figment of my ‘merciless imagination. If only Dr Mead were an imaginary character – but it would strain the ingenuity of a better writer than I am, to have dreamt her up.

Helen Garner, Elizabeth Bay NSW

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In a recent issue of the New York Review of Books, Gordon S. Wood lamented the current dominance of ‘monographic history’, a dominance which he claimed has brought ‘chaos’ to the discipline of history. Most works, he argued are so specific and technical that they are comprehensible only to a few specialists in each field. The title of this book might suggest that here is yet another study designed only to appeal to that hardy little band of historians who spend their professional lives grubbing through the records of early America.

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