‘Blowing’ Messines ridge – a century ago today

It’s a century, this June 7, since the British blew up Messines Ridge, part of the front line of the Ypres salient where they had been wedged against the Germans since the end of 1914. The blast involved most of the 1,307,800 pounds of ammonal, dynamite, gun cotton and blasting gelatine TNT, amatol and other explosives … More ‘Blowing’ Messines ridge – a century ago today

Why history is all about trends and vectors

The other month I had an interesting discussion about historians and history. The issue came up of enthusiasts who style themselves ‘historians’ – but whose qualifications are in a totally unrelated area. What was the difference between their stuff and what I’m doing? There is a huge difference, I explained. Anybody with an enthusiasm for … More Why history is all about trends and vectors

The earthquake apocalypse – it’s coming. Probably.

Something slightly scary occurred to me the other day. Analysis of the Mw 7.8 quake that ripped through central New Zealand last November suggests it was awesomely complex. We usually imagine quakes being caused when one fault line moves. Or maybe two or three faults, because faults tend to exist in connected systems. And often, … More The earthquake apocalypse – it’s coming. Probably.

Why Yetis, Abominable Snowmen and Nessie probably don’t exist

It appears there’s a new effort to find the mysterious monster that, allegedly, lives in Loch Ness. Water taken from the loch will be DNA-analysed for its biodiversity. If there are any odd genes in it, they’ll show up. Apparently. Personally I’m sceptical. The problem with the Loch Ness Monster is that for such a … More Why Yetis, Abominable Snowmen and Nessie probably don’t exist

Latest news about ‘The New Zealand Experience at Gallipoli and the Western Front’

It’s always a bit nerve-racking when a book’s released: will it do well? How will it be reviewed? My book The New Zealand Experience at Gallipoli and the Western Front has been out a couple of weeks. It’s been published and is being sold old-school style – in print, through the brick-and-mortar physical channels of … More Latest news about ‘The New Zealand Experience at Gallipoli and the Western Front’

Lest we forget: Gallipoli, the Western Front and war memory

Today, 25 April, is New Zealand’s memorial day – Anzac Day. It’s the day when we remember all our war dead, more than half of whom died in just one campaign, the Western Front. Here is a short extract from my new book, The New Zealand Experience at Gallipoli and the Western Front, pondering the … More Lest we forget: Gallipoli, the Western Front and war memory