Tom Griffiths reviews 'Hugh Stretton: Selected writings' edited by Graeme Davison

Tom Griffiths reviews 'Hugh Stretton: Selected writings' edited by Graeme Davison

Hugh Stretton: Selected writings

edited by Graeme Davison

La Trobe University Press, $32.99 pb, 336 pp, 9781760640743

This is a deeply rewarding and timely book. Hugh Stretton (1924–2015) was one of Australia’s finest public intellectuals, a historian, ABC Boyer Lecturer, and social democrat with a steely mind and a calm, clear voice of wisdom. Stretton spent thirty years arguing thoughtfully against neoliberalism, a critique he developed at the beginnings of the ideological lurch to the right in the 1980s. Politics and society are now finally catching up with him. As ideas of the public good are being revived, as governments begin to invest again in urban infrastructure, and as inequality re-emerges as a crucial social issue, Hugh Stretton’s lifetime of practical historical thinking on these matters becomes a vital resource.

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Tom Griffiths

Tom Griffiths

Tom Griffiths is the W.K. Hancock Professor of History at the Australian National University. His prize-winning books include Hunters and Collectors, Forests of Ash and Slicing the Silence: Voyaging to Antarctica. His latest book, The Art of Time Travel: Historians and their Craft, was released by Black Inc. in July 2016.

Published in December 2018, no. 407

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