Culture & History

It sounds like a very ambitious title, but the reality is that Dr Adam Rutherford is simply claiming that we are all the same. We are all Homo sapiens and that hasn’t changed in a long time. The book is in essence all about a strand of evidence called DNA and Rutherford helps us to… Read More

It is great to approach history from a different angle, especially in order to gain a new perspective on events. In this book Anne Sebba forces us to reconsider a momentous decade for France, beginning with the German occupation of Paris in 1940, from the point of view of the women of the city. It… Read More

For the many fans of Neil Gaiman the publication of The View from the Cheap Seats, a collection of Gaiman’s selected non-fiction, must feel at least a little bit like a childhood Christmas morning: the anticipation of unwrapping a selection of presents one by one, excitedly discovering their contents - and just like a good… Read More

To spend years of your life tramping around the country looking for war memorials sounds mad. But that is what Jock Phillips and his helpers have been doing since the 1980s. The result is this wonderful collection of photos and stories, but also a deeper look at our history and our national consciousness. The Australian… Read More

First Day of the Somme is an excellent new book by Kiwi-born writer Andrew Macdonald. His engaging first book, On my way to the Somme, dates from 2005 and looked only at the New Zealand experience of the campaign. This new work limits itself to just one day, 1st July 1916, which still ranks as… Read More

The Mackenzie country: a harsh, stunning landscape with its wide-open sky and scorching summers and frozen winters. To New Zealander’s this is an iconic landscape, and delving into the past of this tough slice of the country and the tenacious people who first farmed it is an intriguing subject matter, one that writer and photographer… Read More

In The Scene of the Crime, award-winning journalist, author and columnist, Steve Braunias, presents a truly riveting line-up of twelve of the most infamous crime stories that have occupied the New Zealand public imagination, and which challenge our conceptions of right and wrong, victim and perpetrator, guilt and innocence. As court reporter , originally appointed… Read More

Magicians of the Gods, by Graham Hancock, turned out to be a fascinating read from start to finish. I have read a couple of earlier books by Hancock, and as a kid loved the terrible conspiracy works of Erich von Daniken, such as Chariots of the Gods that claimed visitors from outer space helped guide our… Read More

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