The Last Word?: Essays on Official History in the United States and British Commonwealth

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Jeffrey Grey
Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003 - History - 177 pages
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Official history is a misunderstood genre of historical writing, which attracts much negative comment from (non-official) historians but about which very little detail is actually known. This book examines the development of official history programs in Canada, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand over the course of the twentieth century, looking at the ways in which they developed and the contributions each made to their respective national historiography. The second part of the work develops some themes from the first and takes the official histories of the Second World War as case studies.

Drawing on programs in Australia, Britain, and the United States, these essays examine the relationship between the histories, the historians, and their sponsoring institutions. They assess the impact of the histories on historical understanding of the Second World War. They also consider the impact that contemporary events during the Cold War had on the writing of the official history.

  

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Contents

Canadian Official Military History The End of an Era?
3
Contested Histories Official History and the South African Military in the Twentieth Century
27
Something of Them Is Here Recorded Official History in New Zealand
53
Continuity and Change in the Australian Official History Tradition
69
ASPECTS OF OFFICIAL HISTORIES OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR
81
Change Becomes Continuity The Start of the US Armys Green Book Series
83
Gavin Long and History at the Australian War Memorial
105
Exploiting Enemy Records The Enemy Documentation Section and the Official Histories of the Second World War
117
British Official Histories of the Air War
133
Setting the Historical Agenda Webster and Frankland and the Debate over the Strategic Bombing Offensive against Germany 19391945
147
Index
175
About the Editor and Contributors
178
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

JEFFREY GREY is Associate Professor in the School of History at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra, Australia. He is the author or editor of twenty books and numerous other publications in the fields of Australian, Commonwealth, and comparative military history.

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