There are many, many reasons why having a human to talk to and a library or archives to walk into are important but while I was re-reading Stalingrad by Antony Beevor, I found this quote which pretty much sums it up:
"A good deal of the time spent researching this book might well have been wasted and valuable opportunities missed if it had not been for the help and suggestions of archivists and librarians"
Why was I re-reading Stalingrad you ask? Well, Antony Beevor is visiting Australia to head up a distinguished line-up of historians and scholars from Britain, the United States, and Australia at Kokoda : Beyond the Legend conference on 6-7 September at the Australian War Memorial.
Beevor’s keynote address on “The World at War, 1942” will be a highlight for conference attendees seeking to place the story of Kokoda in a broader context. The aim of the conference is to reassess the battles fought in Papua and discuss the campaign from both the Allied and Japanese perspectives.
The Australian War Memorial’s international history conference Kokoda: Beyond the Legend is on Thursday 6 and Friday 7 September, 2012. Tickets to the conference are limited and are selling fast. For program details and to register, go to the Australian War Memorial site.