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Alistair Thomson

Alistair Thomson

Alistair Thomson is Professor of History at Monash University and President of Oral History Australia. In 2018 he received an Award for Teaching Excellence at the Australian Awards for University Teaching. His books include: Anzac Memories (1994 and 2013), The Oral History Reader (1998, 2006 and 2015 with Robert Perks), Ten Pound Poms: Australia's Invisible Migrants (2005, with Jim Hammerton), Moving Stories: An intimate history of four women across two countries (2011), Oral History and Photography (2011, with Alexander Freund), and Australian Lives: An intimate history (2017, with Anisa Puri). He is currently researching the history of fatherhood in twentieth-century Australia.

Alistair Thomson reviews 'The Keeper of Miracles' by Phillip Maisel

November 2021, no. 437 25 October 2021
Not many people create an archive. For almost thirty years, Phillip Maisel led the testimonies project at Melbourne’s Jewish Holocaust Centre (JHC). Maisel’s memoir is his story of surviving the Holocaust and becoming ‘the keeper of miracles’. Maisel’s Holocaust story is crafted in simple yet eloquent prose, ‘in a language I am still perfecting’ (a native speaker of Lithuanian, Poli ... (read more)

Alistair Thomson reviews 'The Climate Cure: Solving the climate emergency in the era of Covid-19' by Tim Flannery

March 2021, no. 429 22 February 2021
The Climate Cure should have been on every Australian federal politician’s Christmas list. As Tim Flannery explains, our federal politicians, stymied by Coalition climate change denialists and the fossil fuel lobby, have failed the climate challenge of the past two decades, so that we have ‘sleepwalked deep into the world that exists just seconds before the climate clock strikes a catastrophic ... (read more)

Alistair Thomson reviews 'Anzac Legacies' edited by Martin Crotty and Marina Larsson

September 2010, no. 324 01 September 2010
In their recent polemic What’s Wrong With Anzac? (2010), Marilyn Lake and Henry Reynolds lament the militarisation of Australian history epitomised by the profusion of memoirs and military history in bookshops. The authors make a fair point that war history and commemoration has drowned out other notable achievements and failings in our country’s past. But their broad brush sweeps away an impo ... (read more)

Alistair Thomson reviews 'Hazelwood' by Tom Doig

June–July 2019, no. 412 23 May 2019
Tom Doig’s Hazelwood begins with Scott Morrison proclaiming to Parliament, ‘This is coal. Don’t be afraid … It won’t hurt you’, and concludes, 284 riveting pages later, that ‘the Australian coal industry doesn’t just cause disasters – it is a disaster’. In February 2014, during ‘the worst drought and heatwave south-eastern Australia had experienced in over a century’, embe ... (read more)

Alistair Thomson reviews 'Memory and Migration in the Shadow of War: Australia's Greek immigrants after World War II and the Greek Civil War' by Joy Damousi

June–July 2016, no. 382 23 May 2016
When we talk about the importance of Australia's remembered wartime past, we mostly think of home-front experiences or Australians who went away to fight in overseas wars. Yet more than a quarter of our population was born overseas, and many of their early lives were shaped by war, with migration often a consequence of wartime dislocation or postwar persecution and poverty. The war memories these ... (read more)