Playford's South Australia.

This volume of essays is the result of collaboration among many historians and others interested in documenting and reflecting on South Australia's past. The decision to produce this volume of historical essays was taken by members of the Association of Professional Historians (APH).

Collaboration has characterised other aspects of the project besides the writing. Although the APH supported the project with money from its general funds, it could not have published the book without financial help from elsewhere. It happily acknowledges grants from the Community History Fund of the History Trust of South Australia and the City of Adelaide. In addition the association is grateful to those members who provided loans to support the publication.

The essays analyse and reassess some of the conventional wisdom about the period and the Playford legend. Playford is a large part of some chapters, and largely missing from others. This reflects the nature of his premiership: he expended enormous energy and a powerful influence in some areas, and ignored, neglected or gave merely passive support to others.

In his foreword, Sir Arvi Parbo, A.C., states that many of Playford's practices and actions would today be considered restrictive, inappropriate and undesirable. However they had the merit of improving the living standards of South Australia and relating those improvements to the economic means earned rather than, as became the practice later, living partly on borrowed money. Sir Thomas Playford was the right person in the right place at the right time.

As a result of the different authors, approaches and angles, the book makes a valuable contribution to South Australian historiography. It includes 391 pages, 17 chapters, a bibliography, an index, a select chronology of the Playford years and many photographs.


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