Blog Archives

Slow learners, Les Cleveland

Behind Enemy Lines Enemy Lines: Kiwi Freedom Fighters in WWII Matthew Wright (ed) Random House, $39.99, ISBN 9781869790691   A doggerel satire circulating among New Zealand troops in the desert campaigns of 1941-2 complained that General Rommel’s Afrika Korps “chased…
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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review, War

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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Posted in History, Māori, Non-fiction, Review, War

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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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review, War

Teacup warriors, Les Cleveland

Fernleaf Cairo: New Zealanders at Maadi Camp Alex Hedley (with Megan Hutching) HarperCollins, $36.39, ISBN 9781869507718 Grey Ghosts: New Zealand Vietnam Vets Talk About their War Deborah Challinor HarperCollins, $36.99, ISBN 9781869507718 Things Have Been Pretty Lively: The Great War…
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Posted in Autobiography, Biography, History, Non-fiction, Review, War

St Barbara might help, Les Cleveland

The Gunners: A History of New Zealand Artillery Alan Henderson, David Green and Peter Cooke Penguin Books, $65.00, ISBN 9780790011417 Specialists and artillery buffs will find much in this 528-page detailed treatment of weaponry, military organisation, administrative entanglements, the problems…
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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review, War

Kip in the round, Gavin McLean

Howard Kippenberger: Dauntless Spirit Denis McLean Random House, $39.99, ISBN 978869790264 When Denis McLean (no relation) interviewed former comrades of Howard Kippenberger and asked for criticisms of the general, he was astounded that they “were not only nonplussed but shocked…
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Posted in Biography, Non-fiction, Review, War

Wrighting it, Chris Hilliard

Two Peoples, One Land: The New Zealand Wars Matthew Wright  Reed, $39.99, ISBN 079001064X Military fortifications, like oceanic navigation, the archaeology of New Zealand, and the commercial and maritime policies of the early modern Spanish and Portuguese empires, are a…
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Posted in History, Māori, Non-fiction, Review, War

Carry on conspiring, Redmer Yska

The Plot to Subvert Wartime New Zealand Hugh Price Victoria University Press, $29.95, ISBN 0864735383 One Sunday morning at the end of March 1942, a safe-breaker fresh out of Waikeria Prison rang Cabinet Minister Bob Semple at home from a…
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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review, War

Thud and blunder, Tony Simpson

Spy  C H Kit Bennetts Random House, $37.00, ISBN 186941831X Spy is about the claim that Bill Sutch spied for the KGB. I was well-acquainted with Sutch, and we met from time to time in the 70s to talk about…
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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review, War

Heroics, Ken Catran

Best and Bravest: Kiwis Awarded the Victoria Cross Glyn Harper and Colin Richardson HarperCollins, $17.99, ISBN 1869505239 Soldier in the Yellow Socks: Charles Upham, Our Finest Fighting Soldier Janice Marriott HarperCollins, $19.99, ISBN 1869505697 War Zones Helen Beaglehole Steele Roberts,…
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Posted in Children, Fiction, History, Literature, Non-fiction, Review, War
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