The most vituperative of the contemporary ‘history wars’ – the conflict over the historiography of the dispossession of the Aboriginal peoples – will ultimately be resolved by high-quality regional studies of the processes of occupation. Tony Roberts’s Frontier Justice: A History of the Gulf Country to 1900 (UQP), covering the first stages of European settlement of the Gulf Country, is exemplary: original, meticulous, and dispassionate. Roberts, never unsympathetic, seeks to understand both the viewpoint of the settlers and that of the dispossessed. With a wider perspective than usual on the historiographical debate itself, Telling the Truth about Aboriginal History (Allen & Unwin), by one of the generals in the war, Bain Attwood, is the most effective broadside this year. On a quieter note, Eileen Chanin and Steven Miller’s Degenerates and Perverts: The 1939 Herald Exhibition of French and British Contemporary Art (Miegunyah) is the definitive account of the seminal modern art exhibition – dispelling myths, documenting missed opportunities by a myopic art establishment, and setting the exhibition in the context of modernism in Australia. So sumptuous and well-integrated in the text are the illustrations that the reader visits the exhibition.