Living with the Legend
By Alistair Thomson
'Searching for Hector Thomson'. An ABC Hindsight story on the life of World War One veteran Hector and how the legacy of war has echoed through him across several generations.
With a new Foreword by Jay Winter
"… a masterly study of how Australians remember, forget, invent and imagine their experiences of war."
— Ken Inglis
"Additional chapters, including a reflective postscript on 'Anzac postmemory', increase its value for all interested in how this aspect of Australian history seems unduly dominant."
—Peter Stanley, Australian Historical Studies, Vol 45:1, March 2014.
'This is masterly writing on Thomson’s part and shows what can be achieved when scholars are willing to position their own voice in historical writing.' —Joan Beaumonth, Australian Book Review, May 2014.
Anzac Memories was first published to acclaim in 1994, and has achieved international renown for its pioneering contribution to the study of war memory and mythology. Michael McKernan wrote that the book gave 'as good a picture of the impact of the Great War on individuals and Australia as we are likely to get in this generation', and Michael Roper concluded that 'an immense achievement of this book is that it so clearly illuminates the historical processes that left men like my grandfather forever struggling to fashion myths which they could live by'.
In this new edition, Alistair Thomson explores how the Anzac legend has transformed over the past quarter century, how a 'post-memory' of the Great War creates new challenges and opportunities for making sense of the national past, and how veterans' war memories can still challenge and complicate national mythologies. He returns to a family war history that he could not write about twenty years ago because of the stigma of war and mental illness, and he uses newly-released repatriation files to question his own earlier account of veterans’ post-war lives and memories, and to think afresh about war and memory.
Alistair Thomson is Professor of History at Monash University in Melbourne, and was previously Professor of Oral History at the University of Sussex in England. His books include Anzac Memories: Living With the Legend (1994), The Oral History Reader (1998 and 2006, with Rob Perks), Ten Pound Poms: Australia’s Invisible Migrants (2005, with Jim Hammerton), Moving Stories: an intimate history of four women across two countries (2011) and Oral History and Photography (2011, with Alexander Freund).
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