Over the past few decades New Zealand has undergone a unique process of historical reappraisal. A nation that at one time liked to boast of having the finest ‘race relations’ in the world is today learning to come to terms with a rather different reality. For many Maori the process of colonisation left behind an enduring trail of dispossession, marginalisation, poverty and bitterness.
Ron Palenski has long been recognised in New Zealand as one of this country’s more astute sporting journalists. The Making of New Zealanders is based on his recent doctoral thesis, and it is pleasing to see that large topics can be dealt with in the context of a PhD.
A top-notch monograph in the Cambridge imperial and post-colonial studies series, this book reflects the kind of thorough coverage of issues plus analytical depth that one has come to expect from doctoral research in Commonwealth history at Oxford University.
The title of this book, Antarctica: a Biography, might cause some initial confusion but this is rectified by the publisher’s puff on the front inside flap of the dust jacket where it is described as ‘the first major international history of this forbidding continent’.
Controversies over nuclear issues are no strangers to New Zealand. To some this is a surprise. Often regarded in the northern hemisphere as a country both remote and insular (one of ‘eternal Sundays’ as playwright Alan Bennett has written), it is a locality that at times jolts with a seismic unpredictability.
Tracing the path of an Australian Aboriginal political activist through four decades of early 20th–century Europe must surely have been a challenging and often surprising task.
Angela Woollacott’s new book is a good example of the ways in which Australian historians are being influenced by recent approaches to British imperial history. Just as importantly it shows how the interests of scholars working in these hitherto largely separate fields have converged.