In conversation with Carolyn Holbrook, Joan Beaumont and Frank Bongiorno

Eminent historians, Carolyn Holbrook, Joan Beaumont and Frank Bongiorno, will have a panel discussion, chaired by Rae Frances, on Lessons from History, edited by Carolyn Holbrook, Lyndon Megarrity and David Lowe, a collection of essays which addresses Australia's greatest challenges.

Does history repeat itself in meaningful ways, or is each problem unique? How can a knowledge of Australian history enhance our understanding of the present and prepare us for the future? A diverse range of authors, including Graeme Davison, Yves Rees, Hugh White, Andrew Leigh, Joan Beaumont, Ann Curthoys, Mahsheed Ansari, Peter Spearritt and Frank Bongiorno, tackle the biggest challenges that face Australia and the world and shows how the past provides context and insight that can guide us today and tomorrow.

'Lessons from History makes a formidable case for the contemporary real-world relevance, in both national and international policymaking, of deep historical understanding. Hugh White's account of the lessons of 1914 and 1939 for today's would-be warriors - just one of twenty-two invariably thought-provoking essays - is alone worth the purchase price. A rich and rewarding collection which should be read by anyone concerned for Australia's future.' - Gareth Evans

'For several decades now our national mentality has been dominated by economists and culture warriors. Few dare stand up to them. In this book, our top historians begin the fightback.' - Dennis Glover

'A book for the times - an astute contribution to public debate. In twenty-two lively and eminently readable essays leading historians present a compelling case for the importance of history to add span, depth, context and above all wisdom to our policy making repertoire.' - Henry Reynolds

Dr Carolyn Holbrook is an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow in the Contemporary Histories Research Group at Deakin University and the Director of Australian Policy and History. Carolyn is the author of the award-winning book, Anzac: The Unauthorised Biography and The Great War: Aftermath and Commemoration, edited with Keir Reeves.

Frank Bongiorno AM is Professor of History in the College of Arts and Social Sciences, ANU and the award-winning author of the books The Sex Lives of Australians: A History and The Eighties: The Decade That Transformed Australia . Frank's new book, Dreamers and Schemers. A History of Australia will be published in November.

Joan Beaumont AM is Professor Emerita, Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, and the award-winning author of Broken Nation: Australians and the Great War . Her latest book is the critically acclaimed , Australia's Great Depression. How a nation shattered by the Great War survived the worst economic crisis it has ever faced.

Rae Frances AM is Dean of the College of Arts and Social Sciences and Professor of History at the ANU. Her publications include the award-winning books, The Politics of Work and Women and the Great War (co-authored with Bruce Scates) and the critically-acclaimed Selling Sex: a hidden history of Prostitution. 

This event is in association with Harry Hartog Bookshop. Books will be available for purchase on the evening in the Cultural Centre foyer. Pre-event book signings will be available from 5.30pm, and available again after the event.


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A podcast will be made available after the event.