Blog Archives

A prime ministerial primer, Simon Upton

New Zealand’s Prime Ministers: From Dick Seddon to John Key
Michael Bassett
David Ling Publishing, $50.00,
ISBN 9781927305294

New Zealand’s Prime Ministers is a very large volume. It is also an extremely ambitious one that is challenging as a through-read. Twenty-four prime ministers (PMs) dispatched chronologically, from Dick Seddon to John Key, is not an easy assignment. Many will, I suspect, explore this celebrated roll call randomly. You might pick out a shadowy, short-lived incumbent of whom you know little (like Thomas Noble McKenzie, whose three and a half month reign in 1912 brought the curtain down on the great Liberal era that began in 1891); or ferret in the (voluminous) footnotes to tie down the manoeuvrings of a contemporary survivor like Michael Moore or Jenny Shipley.

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Non-fiction, Politics & Law and Review

The Bassett version, Harvey McQueen

Working With David Michael Bassett Hachette Livre, $59.99, ISBN 9781869710941  Working With David is a dogmatic and humourless book about a man who, even in adversity, revelled in laughter. Beginning with clear praise – “at the peak of his career

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Memoir, Non-fiction, Politics & Law and Review

Antipodean apparatchik, Barry Gustafson

Tomorrow Comes the Song: A Life of Peter Fraser Michael Bassett and Michael King Penguin Books, $49.95, ISBN 0140297936 The late Professor John Roberts once told me a story about his father “Big Jim” Roberts, nicknamed “the uncrowned King of

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Biography, Non-fiction and Review

The perils of pragmatism, Tim Hazledine

The State in New Zealand 1840-1984: Socialism without doctrines? Michael Bassett Auckland University Press, $39.95, ISBN 1 86940 193 X Unlike George Lucas of Star Wars, Michael Bassett has decided to tell his story in chronological order. He had wanted

See more ›

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in History, Non-fiction, Politics & Law and Review

Pieces in the puzzle, Michael Bassett

John Banks: A Biography Paul Goldsmith Penguin Books, $34.95, ISBN 0 140 26712 3 Over recent years there has been some criticism of commissioned histories. An Australian academic, Louella McCarthy, writing in the New Zealand Journal of History in April 1996

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Biography, Non-fiction and Review

When “liberal and progressive” was OK, Simon Upton

Coates of Kaipara Michael Bassett Auckland University Press, $39.95, ISBN 1 869401174 For over a decade now public policy in New Zealand has been heavily infused with theory. Politicians have embraced expert advisers and internalised the “science” of economics with

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Biography, Non-fiction and Review

Embers of hope, W H Oliver

Sir Joseph Ward: A Political Biography Michael Bassett, Auckland University Press, 1993, $39.95 There is a paradox in the 6 November election. Voters objecting to the trend of the past 10 years toward less and weaker government have, in their

See more ›

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Biography, Non-fiction, Politics & Law and Review
Search
Search by category