Blog Archives

“Evolution or revolution?”, Simon Upton

The New Biological Economy: How New Zealanders are Creating Value from the Land Eric Pawson and the Biological Economies Team Auckland University Press, $45.00, ISBN 9781869408886 Having lived away from New Zealand for the best part of 15 years, I…
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Posted in Non-fiction, Review

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.…
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Posted in Non-fiction, Politics & Law, Review

Town and country, Simon Upton

The Big Smoke: New Zealand Cities 1840-1920 Ben Schrader Bridget Williams Books, $60.00, ISBN 9780947492434 I live in a very large city – Paris. It is a melting-pot of anonymity, dynamic and dangerous. There are futuristic experiments in eco-design and…
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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review, Sociology

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

Transformation, Simon Upton

Home in the Howling Wilderness  Peter Holland Auckland University Press, $50.00, ISBN 9781869407391 This book is about what can be learned of the environmental and ecological understanding of pioneer farmers in the southern half of the South Island over the…
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Posted in History, Natural History, Non-fiction, Review

A certain political autism, Simon Upton

Palmer: The Parliamentary Years Raymond Richards Canterbury University Press, $45.00, ISBN 9781877257926   For Geoffrey Palmer, politics was a serious business. It was about legislating for a better society and demanded the serious-minded attention of elected politicians. This sense of…
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Posted in Biography, Non-fiction, Politics & Law, Review

Otherwise fine, Simon Upton

Poles Apart: Beyond the Shouting, Who’s Right About Climate Change Gareth Morgan and John McCrystal Random House, $39.99, ISBN 9781869790455 When I learnt that Gareth Morgan was writing a book on climate change I groaned. Out of politeness, it was…
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Posted in Non-fiction, Review, Science

A view from afar, Simon Upton

My Father’s Shadow: A Portrait of Justice Peter Mahon Sam Mahon Longacre Press, $39.99, ISBN 9781877460173 I like Sam Mahon’s writerly qualities. This book confirms the literary reputation inaugurated with The Year of the Horse and broadened with delicious malice…
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Posted in Biography, Memoir, Non-fiction, Review

The high ground, Simon Upton

Whose High Country? A History of the South Island High Country of New Zealand  Roberta McIntyre Penguin Books, $45.00,  ISBN 97801430084125 At the risk of irretrievably mixing one’s metaphors, it is dairy farmers who are today on the sheep’s back.…
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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review

Watering down debate, Simon Upton

The Water Thieves Sam Mahon Longacre Press, $34.99, ISBN 1877361518 New Zealand is a largely debate-free zone.  A couple of years ago, I co-authored an article on the Resource Management Act. Three of us – a partner in a national…
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Posted in Memoir, Non-fiction, Review
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