Peter Lovett wrote: ↑
Thu Aug 10, 2017 11:04 am
Um....actually I would give both a miss if its accuracy your after.
I recommend them as art, but I think the most important message to take from Herzog is about cross-cultural misunderstandings (although he is possibly doing little more than putting Barthes on screen - I haven't read Barthes for 40 years, so I can't remember). So the accuracy you mention, is that accuracy on our terms or have we some modern aboriginal benchmark for our interpretations? And these aborigines, how are we to interpret what they say before we can use it as a benchmark, or if they say it more directly, have they been educated as historians by us Westerners?
The things I recommend are meant as food for thought, as is all "history". The interpretation doesn't end when the primary sources have been turned into (often inadvertently tendentious) secondary sources. The histories you imagine to be "accurate" are only receptions. Chatwin and Herzog are receptions.
God forbid any early European traveller might have been culturally biased! They were looking for estates themselves and they interpret Aboriginals as estate managers? I can't see a problem with that begging the question!
(that almost all the landscapes we know have been shaped by humans is a separate issue. In addition to history, Simon may find a book on cultural geography, if it's specifically on topic, to be of use)
It's also worth reading Jared Diamond, with care.
Something I know about aboriginals is they know that some of what they know is a matter of life and death to them and they don't tell the white man everything, because he will destroy it (principally, of course, where to access the water table).
Anyway, I'm not a historian and I don't want to get into a debate about the problems of historiography and how many meanings the word "history" has. Incidentally, of all the "A Very Short Introduction" books, History is my favourite of the dozen I've read.
Personality comes into it - if you want to read about WWII, I'd recommend (among the usual stuff) Spike Milligan's war memoirs. Others would reject them out of hand.
1975 Calatayud y Gisbert, Yamaha CG131S.