People & Places Newsletter for March

In this month’s People & Places: the tumultuous life of Margaret Mitchell, ‘Gone with the Wind”s Scarlett O’Hara; Karl Pilkington continues to travel to exotic locations – hating every minute – for our amusement; and ‘Listening In’ provides the closest thing to a JFK autobiography – phone conversations, meetings and reflections recorded in the Oval Office.

Library News

Biography

Scarlett O’Hara is probably one of the best -known heroines in modern fiction.What is less well-known is that the author’s life was almost as tumultuous as that of her fictional creation.. Mitchell’s life mirrored Scarlett’s in that she rejected a conventional suitor and chose a wild outsider instead. But unlike Scarlett she was given a second chance, and that union gave birth to ‘Gone with the wind’.
Two other books selected this month feature second chances. Many will have seen the moving French film ” The Intouchables“.- ‘A second wind’ is the true story behind it. Phillipe Pozzi de Borgo was a wealthy champagne magnate who became a quadraplegic after a hang-gliding accident. Abdel was the tough, streetwise Algerian immigrant who reluctantly became his carer. His bucaneering approach to life gave fun and freedom to Philippe and ultimately helped him to find his life partner. In a neat juxtaposition looking after Philippe led to a new life for Abdel.
Award-winning writer Elie Weisel was given the gift of a new life after heart surgery. In “Open heart’ he reflects on his life – his successes and dispappointments and his hope that he had made the world a better place.

Syndetics book coverWives and stunners : the Pre-Raphaelites and their muses / Henrietta Garnett.
“Essentially a domestic biography whose main concern is the tragicomedy of manners enacted by a closely knit group of friends and lovers,’ Wives and Stunners’ tells the story of Janey Morris, Georgie Burne-Jones, Lizzie Siddall, Effie Gray and–less well-known–Marie Spartali, Aglaia Coronio and Mary Zambacco.” (Syndetics summary).

Syndetics book coverMargaret Mitchell & John Marsh : the love story behind Gone with the wind / a biography by Marianne Walker.
“Margaret Mitchell (1900-1949), author of Gone With the Wind , jilted her kind, protective suitor, John Marsh, and instead married Red Upshaw, an unstable bootlegger who physically abused her. Even after she divorced Upshaw, Mitchell, according to Walker, was a confused romantic who in many ways resembled her heroine, Scarlett O’Hara. A “classic demanding-dependent personality,” Mitchell found more than a supportive fatherly mate in public relations executive Marsh, whom she finally married in 1925. Walker, a professor of English and philosophy at the University of Kentucky-Henderson Community College, reveals that Marsh played a vital role in the creation of Mitchell’s classic Civil War saga. He offered key ideas and advice, continuously edited the manuscript as his wife wrote it, and helped with the revision. Walker quotes liberally from the couple’s letters and also draws on interviews, family papers and archival research to tell a moving love story of a symbiotic union that lasted 24 years. A remarkable piece of detective work.” (Summary from www.globalbooksinprint.com).

Syndetics book coverA second wind / Philippe Pozzo di Borgo ; translated by Will Hobson.
“Philippe Pozzo di Borgo was not in the habit of asking for help. Then, in 1993, a paragliding accident left him a quadriplegic. The only person who wasn’t bothered by Philippe’s condition was Abdel, the unemployed Algerian immigrant from the outskirts of society who would become Philippe’s unlikely caretaker.”(Syndetics summary).

Syndetics book coverOpen heart / Elie Wiesel ; translated by Marion Wiesel.
“A profoundly and unexpectedly intimate, deeply affecting summing up of his life so far, from one of the most cherished moral voices of our time. Eighty-two years old, facing emergency heart surgery and his own mortality, Elie Wiesel reflects back on his life. Emotions, images, faces and questions flash through his mind. His family before and during the unspeakable Event. The gifts of marriage and children and grandchildren that followed. In his writing, in his teaching, in his public life, has he done enough for memory and the survivors? His ongoing questioning of God—where has it led? Is there hope for mankind? The world’s tireless ambassador of tolerance and justice has given us this luminous account of hope and despair, an exploration of the love, regrets and abiding faith of a remarkable.”(Summary from www.globalbooksinprint.com).

Syndetics book coverWilliam Colenso : printer, missionary, botanist, explorer, politician : his life and journeys / by A.G. Bagnall and G.C. Petersen ; [edited by Ian St George].
“Colenso, a Church Missionary Society missionary, printer and botanist, established the first printing press in New Zealand and printed the first book, 5000 copies of the New Testament in Māori, in 1837. He also printed the Treaty of Waitangi. His Authentic and genuine history of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi (1890) is regarded as the most reliable European account from the time. Throughout his life, he defended the rights and equality of Māori. Posted to Hawke’s Bay and determined to expand the activities of the mission, Colenso undertook major journeys to reach isolated Māori villages on the east coast of the North Island and inland.” (Syndetics summary).

Syndetics book coverMoranthology / Caitlin Moran.
“British journalist Moran’s (How To Be a Woman) award-winning columns for The Times are available here for an American audience for the first time. In the introduction, she declares her intentions to write “a collection of instances of how brilliant the world often is.” To that end, she covers topics that range from her personal history (being homeschooled in a housing project in the industrial city of Wolverhampton, her work interviewing musicians including Keith Richards and Lady Gaga), social issues (benefit reform, the welfare state, the importance of libraries, particularly to poor communities; she describes them as places “where the wealthy’s taxes pay for you to become a little more extraordinary”. (Summary from www.globalbooksinnprint.com).

Syndetics book coverThe watchmaker’s daughter / Sonia Taitz.
“From the time Taitz was small, her parents’ stories about the Holocaust were like telling me about the secrets of the cosmos. Parts of this refugee family’s dynamics were competitions about which parent’s family had suffered most my life was worse than yours . . . you don’t know from suffering and, more happily, affection. When Sonia’s adored father pulled her toward him, my joy was boundless I had been – selected.’ Only then, chosen, did I feel fully alive. Her Jewish home, where even the walls were sighing, makes her eager for an outside world and education. She realizes, however, that her promised land is not Yale Law School, and finally becomes her own true self while studying literature at Oxford”.(Booklist)

Syndetics book coverRaffles and the golden opportunity 1781-1826 / Victoria Glendinning.
“This is the first biography in decades of the ‘Father of Singapore’. Thomas Stamford Raffles (1781-1826) was the charismatic and persuasive founder of Singapore and Governor of Java. An English adventurer, disobedient employee of the East India Company, utopian imperialist, linguist, zoologist and civil servant, he carved an extraordinary (though brief) life for himself in South East Asia. The tropical, disease-ridden settings of his story are as dramatic as his own trajectory – an obscure young man with no advantages other than talent and obsessive drive, who changed history by establishing – without authority – on the wretchedly unpromising island of Singapore, a settlement which has become a world city”.(Wellington City Libraries’ catalogue note).

Syndetics book coverRobespierre : a revolutionary life / Peter McPhee.
“Historian and professor McPhee (Living the French Revolution, 1789-1799) adds to his volumes on French history with a comprehensive biography of the controversial, diminutive, outspoken, and ambitious man who overcame adversity to become a lawyer, who argued for the rights of children born out of wedlock and freedom of the press in 18th-century France, and whose name is inextricably linked with the French Revolution-for better or worse. McPhee maintains that Maximilien Robespierre “was seeking to make sense of the chaos of a world in revolutionary upheaval and to use his talents to create stability and certainty for a new order”-but at the end of his short life, he was “reviled as thoroughly as he had once been idolized.” (Book jacket).

Syndetics book coverMemé : the three worlds of an Italian-Chinese New Zealander / Memé Churton.
“Memé is half-Italian and half-Chinese and this unusual combination has coloured her personality and the course of her life. Growing up in Italy, she lived through the rise of Fascism and the Second World War. Next she went to China and found herself in the midst of the Chinese Revolution. Then she travelled to the other side of the world at the invitation of a New Zealand soldier whom she had met at the end of the war. Memé was shocked by the curiously old-fashioned and provincial way of life she found in 1950s New Zealand, but for various reasons she stayed, got married, and became involved in a variety of campaigns to enlarge its culture. She managed one of the first dealer art galleries, started one of its first European-style coffee bars, championed international cuisine, promoted fashion for women.”(Publisher Weekly).

Syndetics book coverAn extraordinary theory of objects : a memoir of an outsider in Paris / Stephanie LaCava ; with illustrations by Matthew Nelson.
“Fashion writer Lavaca’s childhood and teenage years were strange and confounding. The author’s family moved from New York to a Parisian suburb in 1993 when she was 12; the next year she suffered a breakdown. Always considered a bit strange as a child, she found solace and a sense of order in collecting objects. She had a passion for ancient mythologies: “I was obsessed with cabinets of curiosities, historical efforts to catalog and control nature’s oddities,” Lacava writes. As an adult Lacava began looking back over her life “through a narrative illuminated with objects and their respective stories.”(Publisher Weekly).

Syndetics book coverLife is a gift : the zen of Bennett / Tony Bennett ; foreword by Mitch Albom.
“Relaxed and comfortable but full of vigor, Bennett’s voice has charmed audiences for more than 60 years. Writing in the same style as he sings, in this new work he shares meditative lessons culled from his amazing life. Having learned the value of hard work during the Great Depression, the pointlessness of war during WWII, and the importance of being true to yourself during a career that has seen musical fads come and go over and over, Bennett (The Good Life, with Will Friedwald) has developed a loose set of rules by which he lives. Whether he is suggesting people “Only Sing Good Songs” or “Everything Should be Done with Love,” Bennett explains how these tenets have shaped his success and makes suggestions about how others can apply them to their lives”. (Publisher Weekly).

Syndetics book coverThe varnished untruth : my story / Pamela Stephenson.
“This is the autobiography of Pamela Stephenson, the wife of Billy Connelly and renowned writer and actress in her own right.”I am darn good at getting under other people’s skin, but opening up about my own life is quite a different matter. So how shall I portray myself? There are choices, you know: Wife, mother, psychologist, writer, comedian, actor, dancer, diver, gypsy, dreamer, rich girl, poor girl, beggar girl, thief. I am all of those and more. Tell you what, you decide. You decide exactly what I am.” A complicated childhood in Australia, a bold move to London, being a woman in a man’s world on Not the Nine O’Clock News, becoming Mrs Billy Connolly, motherhood, career changes and then Strictly Come Dancing – told in her own inimitable style”.(Wellington City Libraries catalogue note).

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Travel stories & guides

New travel books, taking you from Antarctica to Japan, Europe, China, Africa and ‘Around India in 80 Trains’.

Syndetics book coverTokyo on foot : travels in the city’s most colorful neighborhoods / text and illustrations by Florent Chavouet.
“In this first English edition of a graphic memoir of a young French graphic artist of his stay in Tokyo in 2006, Chavouet presents his sketches evidently inspired by Japanese cartoon styles, hand-drawn maps, and impressions of the sights, sounds, and cultural quirks of the neighborhoods of what he notes has been called “the most beautiful of ugly cities.” The book was originally published in 2009 by Editions Philippe Picquier, and awarded a prize that year at the International Festival of Geography. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHere, there, elsewhere : stories from the road / William Least Heat-Moon.
“”It’s collected-works time for the renowned author of such outstanding travel literature as Blue Highways (1983) and River-Horse (1999). Thirty magazine pieces comprise this assembly, with some articles ranging abroad, such as the author’s depictions of his ventures to New Zealand, Japan, Mexico, and Britain. Most, however, amble around America or radiate from the author’s home states of Missouri and Kansas. ….–Taylor, Gilbert Copyright 2010 BooklistFrom Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.” (Booklist)” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLeave the lipstick, take the iguana : funny travel stories and strange packing tips / edited by Marcy Gordon.
“The ninth book in the best-selling Travelers’ Tales humor series. This laugh-out-loud collection will resonate with experienced travelers and novices alike and includes hilarious misadventures with packing, travel fashion, border crossings, language faux pas, weird encounters with exotic cuisine, and romantic overtures abroad.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGypset travel / Julia Chaplin.
“Gypsy+Jet Set = Gypset. In the follow-up to her best-selling Gypset Style, Julia Chaplin explores the little-known enclaves of gypsetters around the globe, from the Aeolian Islands in Italy to Lamu, Kenya; North Goa, India; and Jose Ignacio, Uruguay. Chaplin coined the term ‘gypset’ to describe a new lifestyle that fuses the carefree ethos of a gypsy nomad with the sophistication of the jet set. Gypset Travel delves into this glamorous bohemian world of artists, designers, and bons viivants through intimate photography and first-person anecdotes.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverAround India in 80 trains / Monisha Rajesh.
“To understand India you have to see it, hear it, breathe it and feel it. Living through the good, the bad and the ugly is the only way to know where you fit in and where India fits into you. In 1991 Monisha and her family uprooted from Sheffield to Madras in the hope of making India their home again. But fed up with soap-eating rats, severed human heads, paying bribes, and the creepy colonel across the road, they soon returned to England, determined never to go back again. But twenty years later, Monisha takes a page out of Jules Verne’s classic tale, turns to a map of the Indian railways and embarks on an adventure around India in 80 trains connecting 80 cities, covering 40,000km – the circumference of the Earth. …” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEmpire Antarctica : ice, silence & emperor penguins / Gavin Francis.
“It is said to be one of our oldest stories: a young man goes to a far-off land in search of a mythical and wondrous beast. For years, Gavin Francis yearned to go to the remotest place on our planet, to see one of the strangest beasts alive. This is how he came to spend fourteen months living alongside emperor penguins as the base-camp doctor at Halley, a profoundly isolated British research station on the Caird Coast of Antarctica. …Combining an evocative and enchanting narrative with a sublime sensitivity to the natural world, this is travel writing at its very best.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCooks, clowns and cowboys : 101 skills and experiences to discover on your travels / [written by Andrew Bain … [et al.]].
“101 experiences, courses and lessons into classical skills and talents from around the world ; Tips on becoming the next molecular gastronomy genius, an intrepid archeologist, a Paris-based artist and more; The ultimate reference book for making the most of your travels – and gaining new skills along the way.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover The further adventures of an idiot abroad / Karl Pilkington ; photography by Freddie Claire ; illustrations by Dominic Trevett.
“…Taking the Bucket List of ‘100 Things to Do Before You Die’ as his starting point, Karl combines brilliant stories from his recent adventures to Alaska, Siberia and beyond with entertaining, highly-opinionated views on what other people aspire to do with their lives. * Why on earth would anybody want to run with the bulls in Pamplona? * Go ’storm chasing’ through Tornado Alley? * Have lunch with the Queen? * Or touch hands with the Pope? The Further Adventures of An Idiot Abroad is a fitting finale to two years of eventful globe-trotting. Frank, funny and strangely inspiring, this is Karl’s final word on travel.”–amazon.com. (Syndetics summary)

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History

We hope you enjoy the selection of recent history books for February 2013. Countries featured are Australia, Great Britain and America. We also have the story of a man looking for his ancestors. Fascinating!

Syndetics book coverBatavia : betrayal, shipwreck, murder, sexual slavery, courage, a spine-chilling chapter in Australian history / Peter FitzSimons.
“Batavia is the greatest story in Australia’s history. The Shipwreck of the Batavia combines in just the one tale the birth of the world’s first corporation, the brutality of colonisation, the battle of good vs evil, the derring-do of sea-faring adventure, mutiny, ship-wreck, love, lust, blood-lust, petty fascist dictatorship, criminality, a reign of terror, murders most foul, sexual slavery, natural nobility, survival, retribution, rescue, first contact with native peoples and so much more. Described by author Peter FitzSimons as “a true Adults Only version of Lord of the Flies, meeting Nightmare on Elm Street,” the story is set in 1629, when the pride of the Dutch East India Company, the Batavia, is on its maiden voyage en route from Amsterdam to the Dutch East Indies, laden down with the greatest treasure to leave Holland…” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBritain’s empire : resistance, repression and revolt / Richard Gott.
“This revelatory new history punctures the still widely held belief that the British Empire was an enlightened and civilizing enterprise of great benefit to its subject peoples. Instead, Britain’s Empire reveals a history of systemic repression and almost continual violence, showing how British rule was imposed as a military operation and maintained as a military dictatorship. For colonized peoples, the experience was a horrific one-of slavery, famine, battle and extermination.
Yet, as Richard Gott illustrates, the empire’s oppressed peoples did not go gently into that good night. Wherever Britain tried to plant its flag, there was resistance. From Ireland to India, from the American colonies to Australia, Gott chronicles the backlash. He shows, too, how Britain provided a blueprint for the genocides of twentieth-century Europe, and argues that its past leaders must rank alongside the dictators of the twentieth century as the perpetrators of crimes against humanity on an infamous scale. In tracing this history of resistance, all but lost to modern memory, Richard Gott recovers these forgotten peoples and puts them where they deserve to be: at the heart of the story of Britain’s empire.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPrairie fever : British aristocrats in the American West, 1830-1890 / Peter Pagnamenta.
“From the 1830s onward, a succession of well-born Britons headed west to the great American wilderness to find adventure and fulfillment. They brought their dogs, sporting guns, valets, and all the attitudes and prejudices of their class. Prairie Fever explores why the West had such a strong romantic appeal for them at a time when their inherited wealth and passion for sport had no American equivalent.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverReunion : a search for ancestors / [Ryan Littrell].
“Where do I come from? That question sets Ryan Littrell on a fascinating journey that crosses centuries. An anonymous letter reveals the first clues about his family story, and soon those clues lead to country graveyards, long-lost cousins, and a shocking DNA discovery. And as one hint follows the next, he uncovers his place in a tragic struggle–a tale of heartbreak, betrayal, and unfailing strength. A real-life account, Reunion shows how our ancestors are still a part of us, and how our story began long before we were even born”. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRasputin : the untold story / Joseph T. Fuhrmann.
“Using material from newly opened Soviet archives, particularly the correspondence of Czar Nicholas II and his wife, Alexandra, Fuhrmann, an emeritus professor of history at Murray State University in Kentucky, extends the range of his Rasputin: A Life (1990). He shows how an obscure Russian Orthodox monk became a close adviser to the czar and czarina, particularly after he predicted the recovery of their son, Alexis, from a possibly fatal illness in 1909. Alexandra turned to him for advice on Russia’s WWI military campaign, and he influenced the appointment of high officials. This outsize influence, and rumors that Rasputin was pro-German, impelled a cabal of members of the nobility to assassinate him in December 1916. Fuhrman provides graphic details of the murder and weighs the evidence that the British Secret Intelligence Service participated in the plot. Fuhrmann draws a complex portrait of a dissolute alcoholic figure who allegedly raped at least one woman, yet he was seen by his many followers as a starets (charismatic holy man). Fuhrmann does not provide a final appraisal of Rasputin’s significance in the immediate prerevolution period. Still, this vivid, briskly written biography brings to life one of the most colorful and sinister figures in modern Russian history. Illus. Agent: Andrew Lownie, Andrew Lownie Literary Agency. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved” (Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverListening in : the secret White House recordings of John F. Kennedy / John F. Kennedy Library Foundation ; selected and introduced by Ted Widmer ; foreword by Caroline Kennedy.
“Everyone knows Nixon had tape recorders running in the Oval Office, but most Americans aren’t aware that FDR, Truman, and Eisenhower experimented with audio recording and that JFK installed taping systems in 1962 that he could activate to record significant meetings and phone conversations and, occasionally, his own reflections. All 265.5 hours of those tapes (with redactions, however) are now available at the Kennedy Presidential Library. This volume, accompanied by two CDs, gathers several dozen of the most interesting conversations. In addition to obvious subjects Cuba, civil rights, space, and Vietnam the collection also includes many remarks on history, politics, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and other foreign-policy developments. Because the tapes’ quality varies, some transcripts include too many skips and unclears to convey much meaning. Quite helpful, on the other hand, are the book’s illustrations, which range from photographs to contemporaneous documents and handwritten notes. Despite its limitations, Listening In lives up to Widmer’s descriptions, a portrait of a president being president, and the closest to an autobiography we will ever get.–Carroll, Mary Copyright 2010 BooklistFrom Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.” (Booklist)

Syndetics book coverFormer people : the final days of the Russian aristocracy / Douglas Smith.
“The wide discrepancy between the Russian peasant class (who made up 80 percent of Russia’s 19th-century population) and the nobility helped precipitate the Russian Revolution and the subsequent methodical elimination of the educated aristocratic class. Independent historian Smith (The Pearl: A True Tale of Forbidden Love in Catherine the Great’s Russia) has meticulously researched the revolutionary and Soviet eras, focusing on two noble families: the Sheremetevs and the Golitsyns. Using archival resources and both primary and secondary works, Smith gives us what he calls the first work to detail the nobles’ everyday lives, as well as the consequences to the country of their elimination. By focusing on these two families, Smith brings to life another aspect of Russian and Soviet history in the first half of the 20th century. The profiled families embody what many of the Russian nobles endured, and their choices attest to the resiliency of the human spirit. VERDICT This work will be enjoyed by Russophiles and historians of the tsarist era, as well as those studying this period of Soviet history. Those who enjoy studying the Romanovs will appreciate learning more about the Russian aristocracy as a whole. As such, an important addition to Russian history collections.-Maria C. Bagshaw, Elgin Comm. Coll. Lib., IL (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.” (Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverVikings / Neil Oliver.
“The Vikings famously took no prisoners, relished cruel retribution, and prided themselves on their bloody-thirsty skills as warriors. But their prowess in battle is only a small part of their story, which stretches from their Scandinavian origins to America in the west and as far as Baghdad in the east. As the Vikings did not write their history, we have to discover it for ourselves, and that discovery, as Neil Oliver reveals, tells an extraordinary story of a people who, from the brink of destruction, reached a quarter of the way around the globe and built an empire that lasted nearly two hundred years. Drawing on the latest discoveries that have only recently come to light, Neil Oliver goes on the trail of the real Vikings. Where did they emerge from? How did they really live? And just what drove them to embark on such extraordinary voyages of discovery over 1000 years ago? VIKINGS will explore many of these questions for the first time in an epic story of one of the world’s great empires of conquest.” (Fishpond)

Syndetics book coverChurchill’s angels : how Britain’s women secret agents changed the course of the Second World War / Bernard O’Connor.
“Over 70 female agents were sent out by Britain’s Special Operations Executive (SOE) during the Second World War. These women – as well as others from clandestine Allied organisations – were flown out and parachuted or landed into occupied Europe on vital and highly dangerous missions: their job was to work with resistance movements both before and after D-Day. Bernard O’Connor relates the experiences of these agents of by drawing on a range of sources, including many of the women’s accounts of their wartime service. There are stories of rigorous training, thrilling undercover operations evading capture by the Gestapo in Nazi-occupied France, tragic betrayals and extraordinary courage.” (Global Books In Print)

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New Zealand

From the mountains to the oceans, the urban forest to an island, this month’s collection features a look at New Zealand’s diverse natural and urban environments. There is also a timeline of key events in our history in “Nation Dates” and the last book “Sinai Journal” looks at 30 years of New Zealand’s involvement in multinational foces.

Syndetics book coverAbove the treeline : a nature guide to alpine New Zealand / Alan F. Mark ; contributions by David Galloway, Rod Morris, David Orlovich, Brian Patrick, John Steel and Mandy Tocher.
“This first ever field-guide to New Zealand’s rich and diverse alpine environment includes: an informative introduction on alpine habitats and ecology; detailed descriptions of more than 675 species of flowering plants; a visual guide to easily recognised flowering-plant genera ; sections on conifers, ferns, mosses and liverworts, lichens and fungi; coverage of alpine fauna, including birdgs and lizards, butterflies and moths, grasshoppers, beetles and other invertebrates.–Cover”. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCoastal fishes of New Zealand / Malcolm Francis.
“Coastal Fishes of New Zealand provides a comprehensive, informative and up-to-date identification guide to the fishes likely to be encountered by New Zealand divers and fishers. Illustrated with over 275 superb colour photographs of live fish in their natural habitats, this book includes all of New Zealand’s common reef fishes, and also many of those that live in other habitats. Using the latest research, marine scientist Malcolm Francis also provides a wealth of other information about identifying features, geographical distribution, habitat and size for 221 species of fish. Other interesting biological features, such as feeding, growth, spawning and behaviour are also discussed. If you were to have one book on the abundant fish life found around our coasts, this is the one to own.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAuckland’s remarkable urban forest / Mike D. Wilcox.
“Auckland’s Remarkable Urban Forest provides a comprehensive account of the trees and forests of Auckland. It covers trees to be found in the parks, reserves, campuses, school grounds, cemeteries and historic homesteads of the city; public native bush reserves within the urban Auckland area; native revegetation projects undertaken by community groups; exotic woodlands; street trees; trees of suburban home gardens; notable trees; flowering trees; tree health, forest climbers weeds; utilisation and management of the urban forest”. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNation dates : significant events that have shaped the nation of New Zealand / [Wendy McGuinness & Miriam White].
“Nation Dates presents a timeline of 440 key events, spanning the years 1770-2011, that have shaped the development of New Zealand as a nation. The Sustainable Future Institute has compiled this timeline as an important record of our nation’s past and a valuable resource for establishing a context for our future”. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSinai journal : 30 years of Kiwis serving with the Multinational Force and Observers.
“It’s the world’s most successful peace keeping mission – which hardly anyone’s heard of!” So says one of the many New Zealand Defence Force personnel interviewed for Sinai Journal: 30 Years of Kiwis serving with the Multinational Force and Observers. 2012 marked the thirtieth year of New Zealand’s significant contribution to the successful, if not widely known, Multinational Force and Observer (MFO) peace keeping mission in the Sinai, set up in 1982 to monitor the Treaty of Peace between Egypt and Israel. Working with 11 other countries to preserve a cold peace between two once warring nations, New Zealanders have distinguished themselves at the MFO with their sense of humor and can-do attitude. Sinai Journal documents the adventures of around eighty personnel who have served at the MFO since 1982 through personal anecdotes, essays and some wonderful photos. Contributions of note include those from the two kiwi Force Commanders; Don McIver and Warren Whiting; as well as colourful characters such as former MP and current Carterton Mayor, Ron Mark. This book is a fascinating social history that celebrates both the thirty year milestone and recognises New Zealand’s long standing, unique, contribution to peace in an unpredictable and volatile part of the world”. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKiwi prefab : cottage to cutting edge : prefabricated housing in New Zealand / Pamela Bell & Mark Southcombe.
“Until recently New Zealanders thought of prefabs as drab, cheap, temporary, poorly designed school classrooms. Prefab houses tended to be thought of as cheap, small, relocatable, standard homes. However, today’s prefab home is design rich, high-quality, and readily customised to individual sites and needs. It is likely to be state of the art, an innovative blend of architecture, design, manufacturing and construction. This book documents and contextualises a history of kiwi prefabrication, our prefab architecture, its present state, some prefab characters and characteristics, and emerging and possible prefab futures”. (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDiplomatic ladies : New Zealand’s unsung envoys / Joanna Woods.
“This book tells the inside story of New Zealands diplomatic wives and daughters over a hundred years of diplomacy. Based on private letters, MFAT archives and personal interviews, it records many unknown episodes in New Zealands diplomatic history, including the part played by the spouses in Baghdad during the first Gulf War, and the perils faced by diplomatic wives in Saigon and Tehran. It also gives a unique insight into the workings of diplomatic life and the role of the diplomatic hostess”. (Syndetics summary)

The New Zealand Hobbit crisis : how Warner Bros. bent a government to its will and crushed an attempt to unionize The hobbit / Jonathan Handel ; with Pip Bulbeck.
“All was not well in Middle-earth . . .After the third Lord of the Rings movie premiered in 2003, fans of the series eagerly anticipated production and release of its prequel, The Hobbit. It turned out they had a while to wait, as a series of troubles delayed production for years.Then, in September 2010, when almost everything seemed resolved, U.S. and international actors unions issued a pub-lic alert advising their members “not to accept work on this non-union production.” Warner Bros. threatened to rip the troubled production from the country and events quickly spiraled out of control. New Zealand plunged into crisis. Saving the Hobbit was do or die for the local film industry, and the government scrambled to avoid disaster. Director Peter Jackson vowed to “fight like hell” to keep the shoot in New Zealand. But then studio executives flew in from Los Angeles like colonial masters ready to bring down the hammer. This short book (70 pp. plus bibliography, etc.) tells the tale”.(adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe New Zealand boxing scrapbook / Dave Cameron with Paul Lewis.
“From the 1800s to the second decade of the new millennium, New Zealand boxers have made a mark on the national and international stages – from the days of Bob Fitzsimmons and ‘Torpedo’ Billy Murphy through to David Tua’s quest for a world title today. The New Zealand Boxing Scrapbook offers an insight into ‘the sweet science’ of boxing and the men involved. A collection of boxing history, memorabilia and artefacts”–Publisher information.

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