27 September 2023

The Work of History: Writing for Stuart Macintyre

Start the conversation

Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

Edited by Peter Beilharz and Sian Supski, Melbourne University Press, $39.99.

The Work of History: Writing for Stuart Macintyre does the distinguished historian proud. He made an irreplaceable contribution to Australian history, to Australia and our comprehension of ourselves.

Stuart Forbes Macintyre (1947-2021) was one of the leading Australian historians of our time. The breadth and quality of his work is exemplary, from labour history in Britain and then Australia to social and general history, social justice, civics and education. He was well-known as an enabler, as one who made things happen, as supervisor, editor, adviser and general dynamo. Macintyre was a leading figure across the fields of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Australia.

The editors seek to determine Macintyre’s legacy through the contemplation of others on the interests and issues that inspired his life’s work. Some of the contributors to this project address key themes and dimensions of his work and its consequences. As a result, some patterns and emerging trends suggest themselves. “We discern eight areas of interest, by way of introduction, and follow them with personal conclusions.”

As the authors point out, Stuart was willing to speak of the present, not just the past. “His work is both involved and detached, political and scholarly at the same time or by turns. When controversy called, he stepped up, added context, the longer story and its nuances, and called for judgement and debate. He varied the common distinction: he showed, but he also told. He interpreted, as well as entering into the fibre of the historical moment, its forces and personalities. There is so much here to learn from and to build upon. This is the space in which past present and future bleed together and fuse.”

Tell us how do the editors establish Stuart Macintyre’s legacy? If the answer is correct, you could be one of two winners to get a copy of The Work of History. Entries should be sent to [email protected] by Monday, 20 February 2023. Names of the winners will be published in Frank Cassidy’s PS-sssst…! column on 21 February 2023.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.