A few weeks ago an e-book edition of my best-selling Illustrated History of New Zealand was released by David Bateman Ltd.
Today I thought I’d share some of the pages of the print version.
History, to me, is more than simply recounting past events. It is about understanding the shapes and patterns of life – exploring how they led to the world we know today. From that, we can understand more about where we are – and where we might go. It is, really, about understanding the human condition.
For these reasons history must be about people – their thoughts, hopes and moods. About how they responded to the world they found themselves in. The colonial-age journey to New Zealand, which the sample pages I’ve reproduced here describes, brought that human condition out in many ways; a three month transition between old and new, a rite of passage in which they could shuck off the old world and more fully embrace the dream of the new.
On these pages I’ve conveyed some of the thoughts of those settlers – click to enlarge each page. The poignancy of the journey was deepened, for many, by tragedy; children, particularly, were vulnerable – and often died, something the colonial government deliberately addressed in the 1870s. That’s covered elsewhere in the book.
The opportunity to write something as big as my Illustrated History of New Zealand – big in the physical sense, big in terms of being an interpretative history of an entire nation – is rare in the career of any author.
The opportunity to then re-write it, ten years on – to re-visit, re-cast, re-think, extend and renew – is almost non-existent. That’s particularly true here in New Zealand where the number of qualified historians to have written large-scale interpretative general histories of the country, solo, in the last 60 years, can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
These samples have a copyright notice added to them. Pictures, forming part of the design collage, are from the collection of the Alexander Turnbull Library.
My Illustrated History of New Zealand is on sale now in bookstores across New Zealand, or direct from the publisher website. Scroll down for the e-book link.
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2014
Some shameless self promotion:
It’s also available on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/nz/book/bateman-illustrated-history/id835233637?mt=11
Nook coming soon.
You can buy the print edition here: http://www.batemanpublishing.co.nz/ProductDetail?CategoryId=96&ProductId=1410