The Forgotten Fifties

John Murphy, Judith Smart
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The Forgotten Fifties
The Forgotten Fifties

Subjects

History

Published

9 November 1993

ISBN

9780522848151

Weight

404g

Size

240mm x 171mm

Subjects

History

Imprint

Melbourne University Press

The Forgotten Fifties

John Murphy, Judith Smart
Some of Australia's leading historians present new perspectives on social and cultural life in the 1950s.

The 1950s is usually treated in the popular media as a metaphor for an Australia that was complacent, monocultural, banal and domesticated. On the other hand, historical writing about the decade has long been dominated by accounts of political and foreign policy conflict, the Labor Split, the Cold War and the seemingly endless long summer of Robert Menzies.

This collection assembles some of Australia's leading historians to present new perspectives on the 1950s. Focusing on social and cultural themes, they reveal a decade full of contradictions which belie the common, simplistic accounts of the time. Ranging from the education of the young Barry Humphries to the idea of an Australian 'identity' in the lead-up to the 1956 Olympics, these essays also include the personal recollections of three leading historians, providing a lively and critical insight into the Australia of the period.

Drawing out themes such as style, sexuality, modernism, the…

The 1950s is usually treated in the popular media as a metaphor for an Australia that was complacent, monocultural, banal and domesticated. On the other hand, historical writing about the decade has long been dominated by accounts of political and foreign policy conflict, the Labor Split, the Cold War and the seemingly endless long summer of Robert Menzies.

This collection assembles some of Australia's leading historians to present new perspectives on the 1950s. Focusing on social and cultural themes, they reveal a decade full of contradictions which belie the common, simplistic accounts of the time. Ranging from the education of the young Barry Humphries to the idea of an Australian 'identity' in the lead-up to the 1956 Olympics, these essays also include the personal recollections of three leading historians, providing a lively and critical insight into the Australia of the period.

Drawing out themes such as style, sexuality, modernism, the suburbs, travel writing and immigrant 'assimilation', the authors excavate the experience of everyday life and the attitudes that characterised the 1950s. They present a past that—despite having shaped our lives—continues to be disputed in contemporary Australia.

About the author

Dr Judith Smart is Adjunct Professor at RMIT University. She has published on 20th century Australian women’s organisations, as well as on women and political protest, particularly during World War I. 

About Judith Smart

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