One of the challenges of Aboriginal history has long been dealing with sources not of their making. Indeed, much of what is called Aboriginal history is not Aboriginal history at all. It is stories colonisers have told or constructed, either at the time or subsequently, about the encounter with the land’s first peoples. 'While over the past decade there have been innovative and exciting reconstructions of that encounter which recover the history from the Aboriginal side, Dawson’s book does not set out to do so. Rather, she uses the writings of five British women to glean the lives, reactions and adaptations of Aboriginal people ‘after white settlers infiltrated their lands’ (152). She has looked ‘into and behind the “eye of the beholder”’ to do so, using these women’s published and unpublished works to identify Aboriginal people’s ongoing authority and identity. What we end up with is ‘pockets of insight of Aboriginal culture before, or soon after, its subjugation and reassessment’ following British settlement (xv). ...'