Blog Archives

Reviewing the reviewers

Matthew Wright reflects on the ethics of book reviewing. It’s some years since New Zealand Books published a wonderfully nasty litany of my supposed failures in a book I’d written on South Island settler society where, the reviewer insisted as…
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Hitting the mark, Matthew Wright

Desert War: The Battle of Sidi Rezegh Peter Cox Exisle, $35.00, ISBN 9781921966705 Mention Sidi Rezegh to most New Zealanders today and there is a good chance they will look at you strangely. A few, probably, will nod and perhaps…
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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review, War

Moving historiographical boundaries, Paul Moon

Man of Secrets: The Private Life of Donald McLean Matthew Wright Penguin, $40.00, ISBN 9780143572213 At the Margin of Empire: John Webster and Hokianga, 1841–1900 Jennifer Ashton Auckland University Press, $50.00, ISBN 9781869408251 Those of us interested in reading about…
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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review

A rowdy lot, Julia Millen

Convicts: New Zealand’s Hidden Criminal Past Matthew Wright Penguin, $40.00, ISBN 9780143567646 We New Zealanders have always been complacent, even smug, about our nation’s origins. Unlike our nearest, much bigger, neighbour, New Zealand was never a penal colony, having been…
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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Politics & Law, Review

When worlds collide, Jeffrey Paparoa Holman

Guns and Utu: A Short History of the Musket Wars Matthew Wright Penguin Books, $42.00, ISBN 9780143565659 From the time the first accounts of New Zealand’s native inhabitants began to reach Europe, Maori pugnacity and military prowess have featured high…
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Posted in History, Māori, Non-fiction, Review, War

Myth and memory, Edmund Bohan

Shattered Glory: The New Zealand Experience at Gallipoli and the Western Front Matthew Wright Penguin Books, $45.00, ISBN 9780143020561   The Great Wrong War: New Zealand Society in WWI  Stevan Eldred-Grigg Random House, $55.00, ISBN 9781869792633   In 2007 the…
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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review, War

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

Drawing-room stories, Stevan Eldred-Grigg

Old South: Life and Times in the Nineteenth-century Mainland Matthew Wright Penguin Books, $50.00, ISBN 9780143006510 Old South is a work that should be a welcome newcomer to the growing list of leading titles in New Zealand history. The book…
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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review

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

Delicate flowers of the wasteland, Les Cleveland

Love in Time of War: Letter Writing in the Second World War Deborah Montgomerie Auckland University Press, $35.00, ISBN 1869403363 Freyberg’s War: The Man, the Legend, the Reality Matthew Wright Penguin Books, $35.00, ISBN 0143019856 Western Front: The New Zealand…
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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review, War
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