For three years from 1940 the Second New Zealand Division, led by Lieutenant-General Sir Bernard Freyberg, fought in the North African desert against a combined German-Italian army eventually led by Field-Marshal Erwin Rommel. It was an astonishing campaign that see-sawed across hundreds of kilometres of desert – the arbiter, always, being the supply lines. In the… More Duelling in the desert – the Kiwi way
My book Desert Duel: New Zealand’s Land War in North Africa 1940-43, a brief history of New Zealand’s experience in Egypt and Libya during the Second World War, is being republished as part of a new military series. This time you’ll also be able to get it instantly, on Kindle. I wrote this book in 2001, and… More ‘Desert Duel’: cover reveal!
I’m always intrigued by the way people generally view history. To some it’s a dead past, uninteresting. Others look on it as a trainspotting exercise in data-collection. Academics, on my experience, use the subject as a device for validating self-worth. Henry Ford, reputedly, insisted history was ‘bunk’. In a way he was right, because we… More Why history is really a ‘today’ thing
It’s a decade since I took on Anthony Beevor on TV, over his comments about Bernard Freyberg and his role in losing the 1941 Battle for Crete. I wasn’t able to get a face-to-face interview, but I was able to appear on Mike Hosking’s Sunday show in riposte to remarks Beevor made on the same show a week… More How I went into single combat on TV, intellectually speaking, with Antony Beevor
My book Battle for Crete: New Zealand’s Near-Run Affair, a brief history of New Zealand’s close-run defeat on Crete in 1941, is being republished as part of a new military series by Intruder Books. It’s the third time this title’s been released – and this time you’ll be able to get it instantly, on Kindle. Here’s the… More ‘Battle for Crete’: cover reveal!
I am amazed at how easily hard science intrudes into almost any subject. A few years ago I edited a volume of New Zealand naval memories for Random House – stories from participants in our Second World War sea battles. One of the accounts proudly explained that our light cruiser Achilles had been good for 36… More Pushing hard science into history
It’s 99 years today since the great First World War clash of dreadnoughts off the coast of Jutland, the one and only time when the British Grand Fleet and the German High Seas Fleet came to blows. My great uncle was there, on board HMS Orion. So too were a number of New Zealanders, many… More The First World War was about sea battles too – especially Jutland