Hot news, my friends. My book Freyberg: A Life’s Journey is being released on 6 October by Oratia Books. It’ll be available in all good New Zealand bookshops, and internationally by direct sale from the publisher’s website.
It is the story of one of New Zealand’s greatest heroes; a household name through the middle decades of the twentieth century – whose name appears today in streets, buildings, schools, sports centres, beaches, and more. And yet today he’s hardly remembered.
I wrote the story of Freyberg’s military career back in the early 2000s. This book tells the other half of the story: the story of Freyberg the swimming champion and reluctant dentist from lower-middle class Wellington who made his mark in London high society from the outbreak of the First World War – who was good friends with James Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan; who wooed Cynthia Asquith, the model for D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley; and who became best friends with Winston Churchill. And that wasn’t even the half of what he did. Then there was the story of his time as a mercenary in Mexico, which he intentionally had censored, later.
Of course, books of this kind are all about discovering the character: who Freyberg was, as a person. And that was as much a journey for me as it was for Freyberg. He was, as you’ll see when you read the book – and yes, you do want to read it – a simply extraordinary character. He was simultaneously child-like, but not childish; he had a razor intellect that few perceived; no sense of passing time; he was able to divorce his emotions from his thoughts to the point where he could stand amid battle and work out what he had to do – and more. His kindness was legendary: his only weakness, if it could be called that, was his empathy for others.
So who was Bernard Freyberg? It’s all in this book. Check it out – click to buy right now from the publisher, or hunt it down at any good bookshop when it’s released there on Tuesday.
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2020