Henry Reynolds reviews 'The Last Man: A British Genocide in Tasmania' by Tom Lawson

Henry Reynolds reviews 'The Last Man: A British Genocide in Tasmania' by Tom Lawson

The Last Man: A British Genocide in Tasmania

by Tom Lawson

I.B. Tauris (Footprint), $49.95 hb, 263 pp, 9781780766263

Tasmania is a small place with a rich historiography. Two themes in particular have intrigued historians and novelists since the nineteenth century and have appealed to film-makers and artists in more recent times. The fate of the Aborigines and the convict system which dominated society from 1803 to 1853 have both attracted notice as a result of their dark, dramatic potential. They were the central themes of John West’s great two-volume History of Tasmania, published in Launceston in 1852. Every year the relevant body of literature grows. The intense ‘history wars’ of a decade ago were principally about interpretations of Tasmanian history in the early nineteenth century, and many books and articles have been published in recent years.

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Henry Reynolds

Henry Reynolds

Henry Reynolds lives in Richmond, Tasmania. He worked for many years at James Cook University in Townsville, and has written many well-known books about Aboriginal-European relations. His recent books are A History of Tasmania (2011) and Forgotten War (2013), which won the Victorian Premier's Prize for non-fiction.

Published in May 2014 no. 361

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