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Parasitic on the actual

by
September 2006, no. 284

What If?: Australian history as it might have been edited by Stuart Macintyre and Sean Scalmer

MUP, $34.95 pb, 293 pp

Parasitic on the actual

by
September 2006, no. 284

Thirteen scholars here have fun changing the course of Australian history, but this diverting exercise has the serious purpose of making the real history fresher, more complex and surprising.

Even the more implausible scenarios can have this effect. Marilyn Lake imagines Prime Minister Alfred Deakin declaring independence from Britain in 1908 and aligning Australia with the United States, which brings to our attention the high place in the Australian imagination accorded to the American republic as exemplar, potential ally and partner in the spreading of a vigorous white manhood across the new world. Ann Curthoys ponders the character and influence of feminism by imagining a men’s movement emerging in the 1970s.

John Hirst reviews ‘What If?: Australian history as it might have been’ by Stuart Macintyre and Sean Scalmer

What If?: Australian history as it might have been

edited by Stuart Macintyre and Sean Scalmer

MUP, $34.95 pb, 293 pp

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