Blog Archives

“A most entertaining little man”, Chris Szekely

Hocken: Prince of Collectors Donald Jackson Kerr Otago University Press, $60.00, ISBN 9781877578 663 Dry bread and milk for breakfast. Dry bread and milk for supper. Not much chop for a boy of eight at Woodhouse Grove in 1844, but…
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Posted in Art, Biography, Non-fiction, Review

Telling our stories to ourselves, Chris Else

Jerome Kaino: My Story Jerome Kaino Penguin, $40.00, ISBN 9780143573562 Wildboy Brando Yelavich Penguin, $35.00, ISBN 9780143573159 The Good Doctor Lance O’Sullivan Penguin, $38.00, ISBN 9780143572510 How Bizarre Simon Grigg Awa Press, $38.00, ISBN 9781927249222 Lydia Bradey: Going Up is…
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Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Memoir, Non-fiction, Review

The colony’s resident expert of choice, Simon Upton

James Hector: Explorer, Scientist, Leader Simon Nathan Geoscience Society of New Zealand, $45.00 ISBN 9781877480461 Simon Nathan’s biography of Sir James Hector fills a major gap in the nation’s historical bibliography. The reasons why the gap remained unfilled for over…
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Posted in Biography, History, Natural History, Non-fiction, Review, Science

Moss, C K Stead

Maurice Gee: Life and Work Rachel Barrowman Victoria University Press, $60.00 ISBN 9780864739926 When I was young, New Zealand fiction had three Maurices. Duggan (“Maurice”) was the maestro, Gee (“Moss”) the dependable tradesman, and Shadbolt (“Morrie”) the showman. The maestro…
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Posted in Biography, Literature, Non-fiction, Review

Necromancy and piety, John O’Leary

A Blighted Fame: George S Evans 1802-1868, A Life Helen Riddiford Victoria University Press, $60.00, ISBN 9780864738967 For Gallant Service Rendered: The Life & Times of Samuel Austin Barbara Mabbett Steele Roberts, $35.00, ISBN 9781877577710   Biography is a strange…
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Posted in Biography, Non-fiction, Review

Exploring the biographers, Tom Brooking

Frank Worsley: Shackleton’s Fearless Captain John Thomson Craig Potton, $50.00 ISBN 9781927213124 Dumont d’Urville: Explorer and Polymath Edward Duyker Otago University Press, $70.00 ISBN 9781877578700   Here we have two very different approaches to writing about the history of European…
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Posted in Biography, History, Non-fiction, Review

Just perk up your ears, Barbara Else

The Life and Art of Lynley Dodd Finlay Macdonald Penguin, $50.00, ISBN 9780143567967 A tousle on spindly legs has conquered the world. How did it happen? Finlay Macdonald’s biography of Lynley Dodd describes her journey from childhood in the Kaingaroa…
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Posted in Biography, Non-fiction, Review

A veritable Pooh-Bah, Edmund Bohan

Dear Tyrant; An Extraordinary Colonial Life Barrie Allom Wairarapa Archive/Fraser Books, $39.50, ISBN 9780992247522 Albert James Allom (1825-1909) always described himself in his numerous and usually self-justifying writings as “Gentleman”, a title that frequently in his latter years brought down…
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Posted in Biography, Non-fiction, Review

Larger than life, Simon Upton

Richard Seddon: King of God’s Own – The Life and Times of New Zealand’s Longest-serving Prime Minister Tom Brooking Penguin, $65.00 ISBN 9780143569671 I grew up in a very complacent country which didn’t really take its history seriously. New Zealand…
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Posted in Biography, Non-fiction, Review

The effort at reasonableness, Miranda Johnson

Paikea: The Life of I L G Sutherland Oliver Sutherland University of Canterbury Press ISBN 9781927145432 The critical theme of Oliver Sutherland’s biography of his father, Ivan Sutherland, is the rational pursuit of an understanding of others. The theme is…
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Posted in Biography, Non-fiction, Review
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