Clio, a muse

Strategy and perspective in the art of history
by
February 2010, no. 318

How to Write History That People Want to Read by Ann Curthoys and Ann McGrath

University of New South Wales Press, $34.95 pb, 272 pp

Book Cover 2 Small

Voice and Vision: A guide to writing history and other serious nonfiction

by Stephen J. Pyne

Harvard University Press (Inbooks), $59.95 hb, 314 pp

Clio, a muse

Strategy and perspective in the art of history
by
February 2010, no. 318

‘Real solemn history, I cannot be interested in’, declared Jane Austen, and so too do a number of Australian publishers. It is a commonplace that historians do not know how to write, except to each other in ways that put other readers to sleep. The first advice to the author of any newly minted doctoral dissertation preparing a book proposal is to eliminate all reference to the thesis. The starting point in any of the non-fiction writing programs offered at universities is to purge their manuscript of academic diction. ‘Sadly’, Ann Curthoys and Ann McGrath begin their advice book on the subject, ‘historical writing has quite a bad reputation’.

Stuart Macintyre reviews 'How to Write History That People Want to Read' by Ann Curthoys and Ann McGrath, and 'Voice and Vision: A guide to writing history and other serious nonfiction' by Stephen J. Pyne

How to Write History That People Want to Read

by Ann Curthoys and Ann McGrath

University of New South Wales Press, $34.95 pb, 272 pp

Book Cover 2 Small

Voice and Vision: A guide to writing history and other serious nonfiction

by Stephen J. Pyne

Harvard University Press (Inbooks), $59.95 hb, 314 pp

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