I mentioned last week that I had two books being published this year within a few weeks of each other. It’s the way writing goes, sometimes. Books written at different times end up chasing each other. It’s not the first time it’s happened.
As well as my large-scale Illustrated History of New Zealand, I’ve also written a short history of New Zealand’s iconic railway locomotives and engineering – one of my interests – sold exclusively through Whitcoulls, New Zealand’s largest book chain. Trains, Tunnels, Bridges: Icons of Our New Zealand Rail History. Here’s the cover.
Like all my transport books, it flows from my interest in the field – which, for me, isn’t about listing serial numbers or spouting locomotive statistics like Arthur Putey on a platform at Paddington. What I write about is the intersection between technology and society. In short – what locomotives and all the apparatus of rails, tunnels, bridges and rolling stock have meant to New Zealanders. Opening, inevitably, with our very first and most spectacular railway project - the effort, during the late 1850s, to drive a tunnel through the wall of a volcano and so link Lyttleton to Christchurch.
The book is on the shelves in Whitcoulls this week. Here it is on the plinth in the middle of their Lambton Quay shop, alongside a Windows 8 manual and a cookbook. Where they had a Weta-supplied Nazgul last year as part of a Hobbit promotion. Which to me makes it pretty cool.
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2013