Blog Archives

Rescuing an heroic figure, Jane Westaway

Petals & Bullets: Dorothy Morris, New Zealand Nurse in the Spanish Civil War
Mark Derby
Potton and Burton, $40.00,
ISBN 9781927213766

In the preface to Mark Derby’s new book, Spanish War historian Angela Jackson writes of the challenge in recounting the lives of so-called “do-gooders”. Such figures – often female – aren’t sexy. They tend to live beyond the public eye, the corridors of power and the celebrity-mad media. Thus, they leave behind precious little of the source material biographers and historians rely on. Derby notes a related difficulty – that of making a dedicated life “appear interesting” – even though his subject is Dorothy Morris, a Christchurch nurse who worked in Spain during the Civil War, caring for horribly injured civilians and soldiers, as well as starving and traumatised children and refugees.

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Room at the top, David Grant

White-collar Radical: Dan Long and the Rise of White-collar Unions        Mark Derby Craig Potton, $40.00, ISBN 9781877517174 Dan Long was an esteemed public servant and political and union activist from the late 1950s until his premature death

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No eureka moment, Mark Derby

The Making of New Zealanders Ron Palenski Auckland University Press, $45.00, ISBN 9781869407261 In these febrile times a passing mention of New Zealand in US media can provoke a front-page response from our own. So it’s instructive to discover that

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Cons and rebels, Paul Morris

The Prophet and the Policeman Mark Derby Craig Potton, $39.99, ISBN 9781877517112 The English word “prophet” can mislead us, even if its Maori version emphasises the biblical legacy of seers and seekers of justice who spoke in the name of

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Maori territory, Mark Derby

Nga Tama Toa: The Price of Citizenship: C Company 28 (Maori) Battalion 1939-1945 Monty Soutar David Bateman, $69.99, ISBN 9781869535933 The East Coast leader Apirana Ngata, for all his political and rhetorical gifts and his unquestioned public-spiritedness, could evidently be

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Something out of Dante’s Inferno, David Grant

Kiwi Compañeros: New Zealand and the Spanish Civil War  Mark Derby (ed) Canterbury University Press, $45.00, ISBN 9781877257711 For the great bulk of New Zealanders between 1936 and 1939 the Spanish Civil War was like any other civil war; it

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