There is something about certain historical figures that draws writers. Many years ago I did an undergrad course on the intersection between history and biography where my specialist focus was Admiral Sir John Fisher, the volcanic, combatative and controversial head of the Royal Navy during the ‘naval race’ that led up to the First World … More OMG! – the story of Admiral Fisher and his biographers
I write full-time for a living. It’s not easy. The usual way to make a small fortune from writing is to start with a large one. Book sales are important, every one of them. Last week I discovered persons unknown have pirated one of my naval histories – nine times, in fact. They’re being sold … More Piracy, navies and my books
A little while back some guy on social media informed me for the umpteenth time that New Zealand couldn’t afford HMS New Zealand – a major warship that the government gave to Britain in late March 1909 – because (according to him) the colony was too small, in recession and had only minimal labour force. … More How to pay for expensive government projects by drinking beer
This week I won a national writing award for my book for schools, The New Zealand Wars. The Storylines Notable Book lists included this title in its YA non-fiction category. I’m quite pleased about that. I wrote the book intentionally for the YA market, but it’s there for all ages and is intended as a … More I won a national writing award
I miss old Mars. The Mars of imagination, the world with deep blue skies and red deserts filled with whatever magical societies and cities our whims desired. Real Mars is interesting too, and it’s there, and it’s what we’re going to have to deal with if we ever leave this planet. That Mars too can … More The wonder of old Mars and its sands
I have a new book out next week. The battlecruiser New Zealand – a gift to Empire is being published in Britain by Seaforth, and in the United States by USNI Press. A little later this year it’s also being published in New Zealand by Oratia Books. It’s a very special book to me because … More The battlecruiser New Zealand – a gift to Empire
It is almost 93 years since Erich Maria Remarque’s memoir of the First World War appeared in the pages of the newspaper Vossische Zeitung. It emerged in book form a few months later – January 1929 – and was made into a movie the following year. An English translation was published by Putnam in March … More All quiet on the blogging front
This week Oratia Books released the third edition of my short book The New Zealand Wars. I wrote it originally in 2005 as a kids’ book, expanded into a version for high-school readers in 2014 – and now it’s been released in an all-new edition with further revisions, new picture selection, and more. It brings … More The New Zealand Wars – out now!
Last Monday – a public holiday in Wellington – was a sunny day and I went for a casual saunter along the waterfront, starting a block from the Freyberg Building, before heading along it to the Freyberg Pool and Freyberg Beach. In case you think there’s a certain theme there, you’re right. Just then my … More Hot news about matters Freyberg
My recent biography of Bernard Freyberg – Freyberg: A Life’s Journey – was explicitly not a military story. His career was, of course, primarily defined by his army life, from First World War action-hero to Second World War commander. But I had already written a biography of his wars and what his field actions meant … More History is a discussion, not a final truth
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