While fossicking through the books I have in the back shed the other week I found my copy of Gavin McLean’s Whare Raupo, the official history of New Zealand’s oldest publishers, Reed New Zealand. They are no more, alas – vanishing in 2007 when parent company Elsevier sold their worldwide publishing interests to the Pearson Group.
I used to write for Reed – a lot. Here’s what Gavin had to say about my contribution:
“Wellington historian Matthew Wright virtually had his own production line. A Near-Run Affair: New Zealanders in the Battle for Crete, 1941 (2000), Desert Duel: New Zealand’s North African War 1940-43 (2002), Pacific War (2003), Italian Odyssey (2003) and Western Front (2005), all large-format, heavily illustrated paperbacks, and two larger hardbacks, Blue Water Kiwis (2001), following the earlier Kiwi Air Power (1998)…the company continued to publish general history, titles such as Wright’s Quake – Hawke’s Bay 1931 (2001, with an expanded edition in 2006)…and Wright’s massive Reed Illustrated History of New Zealand (2004). This last book, featuring over 600 photographs, paintings and sketches, drawn mainly from the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library, sold over 10,000 copies.”
Since then my Illustrated History of New Zealand has been reissued by David Bateman Ltd and has continued to sell very well – you can get it on Kindle, for instance. And those militaries mentioned above? Well, they’re out on Kindle too.
Another of my Reed books, Two Peoples, One Land (2006) – which Gavin referred to as a ‘post-revisionist’ take on the New Zealand Wars – is out of print. So too is my New Zealand’s Military Heroism (2007) – one of the last books issued by Reed. As far as I’m aware. It was published the very week they closed their doors.
I have hopes that both books will see the light of day again. Meanwhile, I have a few spare copies left of Two Peoples. Contact me.
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2016