Blog Archives

War games, Ron Palenski

War Blacks: The Extraordinary Story of New Zealand’s World War 1 All Blacks Matt Elliott HarperCollins, $45.00, ISBN 9781775540366 Tom Ellison has a lot to answer for. One of the early All Blacks of erudition and original thought, he wrote a

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Olympian heights, John Horrocks

Striking Gold: New Zealand Hockey’s Remarkable Victory at the 1976 Olympics Suzanne McFadden Mary Egan Publishing, $40.00 ISBN 9780473343729 Striking Gold is the story of one of the great moments in New Zealand’s sporting history. The 1976 Olympics are remembered

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From the sidelines, Michele A’Court

Dan Carter: My Story
Dan Carter with Duncan Greive
Upstart Press, $50.00
ISBN 9781927262382

Here’s a crazy idea – get someone who doesn’t give a toss about rugby to review the autobiography of the world’s greatest rugby union fly-half. Madness.

Dan Carter: My Story has featured on the bestseller lists since it was launched just days after the All Blacks’ Rugby World Cup win last October – the game (spoiler alert) New Zealand won, in which Dan Carter kicked four penalties, two conversions and a drop goal, and was named the Man of the Match. A game I didn’t watch. (I know – handing in my New Zealand passport now.) But, after initial hesitation, I figured Carter, his writing collaborator Duncan Greive, and their book, would cheerfully survive no matter what I thought. It seemed that me reviewing it was a risk that wouldn’t involve a knockout win or loss for anyone.

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Posted in Autobiography, Non-fiction, Review and Sport

In the pain, the pleasure, Mark Reason 

The Invisible Mile
David Coventry
Victoria University Press, $30.00
ISBN 9781776560431

David Coventry had a very good idea, perhaps a brilliant idea, of turning the 1928 Tour de France into an odyssey. It is a journey through spiritual and physical pain, through memory and shifting personality. It is a poetic novel in which war, religion and a bicycle race come to grief, a multiple pile-up of sacrifice and suffering.

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The bloody World Cup, John Saker 

Inside The Cup: Secrets Behind Our All Black Campaigns
Phil Gifford
Penguin Books, $40.00
ISBN 9780143573463

The next, as yet unwritten, chapter of this book has just been played out with the All Blacks’ ruthless, successful march through this year’s Rugby World Cup.

The bloody World Cup. That we weren’t able to win the thing more often over a 20-year period became a source of national angst. With Inside The Cup, Phil Gifford takes us through each painful derailment (and, of course, the two successful campaigns in 1987 and 2011). Before we get into that, here’s my own theory.

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It’s a knockout, Spiro Zavos

Fighting Talk: Boxing and the Modern Lexicon Bob Jones Random House, $30.00, ISBN 9781775534389 Bob Jones – aka Sir Robert – has written an engrossing book on the fight game. It is satisfying intellectually and emotionally. It involves an original

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A taste of the salt, Anne French

How to Sail a Boat Matt Vance Awa Press, $26.00, ISBN 9781877551857 “We were about five hundred miles off the coast of California … .” That’s how Mid’s best stories start. I haven’t seen him for years now, but I still

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Magnificent obsession, Spiro Zavos

Graham Henry: Final Word Bob Howitt HarperCollins, $50.00, ISBN 9781869509736 Here is an heroic assertion. Graham Henry is the greatest coach in the history of rugby. His rivals for this title include Danie Craven, Carwyn James, Fred Allen and, possibly,

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Becoming heroic, Garth Baker

The Open Side Richie McCaw (with Greg McGee) Hodder Moa, $50.00, ISBN 9781869712761 Valerie: The Autobiography Valerie Adams (with Phil Gifford) Hodder Moa, $50.00, ISBN 9781869712624 Let’s start with the numbers, all big. The initial 60,000 print run of Richie

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Getting fit for the Empire, Caroline Daley

Strong, Beautiful and Modern: National Fitness in Britain, New Zealand, Australia and Canada, 1935–1960 Charlotte Macdonald Bridget Williams Books, $50.00, ISBN 978927131404 In July 1937 the Physical Training and Recreation Act was passed in Britain. A few months later the

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Posted in Health, History, Non-fiction, Review and Sport
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