New Aotearoa newsletter for June

Welcome to our June Aotearoa newsletter! Besides all our new books, we’re celebrating Matariki this month with heaps of events you won’t want to miss, first with Wellington City Council and also with Te Papa. If you’d like to explore our collection around this event, click on this link. Enjoy!

Library News

New Zealand Non-Fiction

Animals, plants, politics and poetry feature this month in the New Zealand collection.

Syndetics book coverNew Zealand inventory of biodiversity / edited by Dennis P. Gordon.
“Appropriate for advanced high school and college students as well as working scientists, this intriguing guide is the first of three volumes that will chart the progress of a scientific inventory of New Zealand’s living and fossilized biodiversity. An international effort involving more than 220 New Zealand specialists, this project, when completed, will include every one of the almost 55,000 known species of animals, plants, fungi, and micro-organisms in the country. Part of Species 2000, an international scientific project, the long-term goal is to enumerate all known species on earth into one seamless list called the Catalog of Life, which will function as an online biological catalog. To date, only New Zealand has compiled a checklist of its entire biota.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn extraordinary land : discoveries and mysteries from wild New Zealand / written by Peter Hayden ; photographs by Rod Morris.
“Our isolation has been a huge advantage. It turned New Zealand into a wild laboratory where evolution could conduct experiments that lead to weird and wonderful outcomes like the kakpo and the giant weta. It was also a museum, where ancient creatures could exist long after their kind disappeared from the rest of the world. More recently, scientists are discovering how little we know about species we thought we knew so well. An Extraordinary Land brings us up to date with these discoveries and gives us a snapshot of what makes New Zealand wildlife unique”–Jacket flap.

Syndetics book coverHis own steam : the work of Barry Brickell / with essays by David Craig & Gregory O’Brien and new photography by Haruhiko Sameshima.
“Potter extraordinaire, conservationist, railway enthusiast and iconoclast Barry Brickell is one of New Zealand’s most important ceramicists … In essays by David Craig and Gregory O’Brien and with both newly commissioned photographs by Haru Sameshima and historic images, His Own Steam: The Work of Barry Brickell charts Brickell’s career in its entirety and in the context of his life and times, timed to coincide with a survey exhibition of the same name at The Dowse Art Museum”–Publisher information.

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This month the story of Bunty Preece gives us insight into the war efforts of D Company, 28 Māori Battalion, and there is a revised edition of Claudia Orange’s excellent introduction to the Treaty of Waitangi.

Syndetics book coverTurning points : events that changed the course of New Zealand history / Paul Moon.
“Historian Paul Moon has chosen 20 events that have shaped the course of New Zealand history over the years. The events are described and illustrated with photographs drawn from the archives, and Moon outlines how New Zealand history has changed as a result”–Publisher’s information.

Syndetics book coverKawea te wairua o te kupu / Agnes McFarland (ētita).
“Ko te tuhituhi o te whakaritenga o te whakaaro o tēnei pukapuka he whakatakoto huarahi ki ngā kāinga kōrero i tipu i roto i ngā tau kia kaua e wareware kia kitea ō mātau, ō tātau kanohi ngā kaituhi, ēnei kaituhi ki ngā hapori reo o tōu whānau, hapū, iwi. Kai kona te tika, kai kona te ora, kai kona e hora ai te kupu kia kaua e noho noa ki runga i te whārangi kohokoho, maremare ai. Koia te kaupapa o tēnei tuhituhi kia tipu ngā momo whakataurite, te anga whakaputanga o ngā whakahoutanga o te whakaaro mā tātau katoa ngā kaituhi me te hunga kai te piki ake”–Publisher’s website.

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Our History selection is a bit of a mixed bag this month and includes books about The Great Depression, The American Civil War, North Korea, Haiti, Manhattan, a 1920s president of the United States: Coolidge, and a history of Ambition. Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverThe Dust Bowl : an illustrated history / by Dayton Duncan ; with a preface by Ken Burns ; picture research by Aileen Silverstone and Susan Shumaker.
“Given our current drought and economic woes, the powerhouse team of Duncan and Burns (The National Parks, 2009) chose a sharply relevant subject, the Dust Bowl, for their latest book and documentary. This riveting, illustrated volume of vivid written and oral history extends the scope of the film (premiering on PBS in mid-November) and clarifies our understanding of the worst manmade ecological disaster in American history. The Great Plains, a land of little rain and perpetual wind redeemed by buffalo grass, experienced a rare wet spell in the 1920s, just as homesteaders were encouraged to farm, and technological advances made it possible to plow up millions of acres of sod, exposing the soil. When the rains stopped in the early 1930s, fierce winds generated massive, rampaging, otherworldly dust storms. From struggling with the invasive, smothering dust to the immense folk migration as families fled west to FDR’s attempts to mitigate the disaster, Duncan and Burns chronicle every harrowing phase of this decade of human pain and environmental degradation. The result is a resounding chronicle of why we must preserve Earth’s life-sustaining ecosystems.–Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 BooklistFrom Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.” (Booklist) (Courtesy of Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverHaiti : the aftershocks of history / Laurent Dubois.Haiti: The Aftershocks of History
“Stereotypes, errors, and prejudice swirl around Haiti like toxic fumes, but this riveting study helps dispel clouds of ignorance. Building on his landmark synthesis of revolutionary Haiti (Avengers of the New World, CH, Nov’04, 42-1742), Dubois (Duke) summarizes colonial slave society and the liberation era, then thoroughly covers poorly understood 19th-century developments. Ongoing tensions between ruling elites and rural citizens characterized this period. Elites hoped to restore the plantation regime’s coercive labor relations; peasants sought title to land for subsistence farming and local market production. Dubois persuasively argues that the resulting stalemate defines much of Haiti’s history, shaping political as well as agricultural life. The “counter-plantation” strategy, not laziness or incapacity, explains the supposed postindependence economic decline. In the 1900s, that viable option eroded along with Haiti’s soil and smallholder rights. Brutal authoritarianism and foreign interventions are longstanding plagues, but Haitians increasingly reassert national autonomy, cultural pride, and democratic rights. Perhaps brief coverage of the post-Duvalier years indicates a future third volume. Readers will welcome further work by this major historian of this “small country but big nation.” Summing Up: Essential. All levels/collections. T. P. Johnson University of Massachusetts, BostonCopyright American Library Association, used with permission.” (CHOICE) (Courtesy of Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverCoolidge / Amity Shlaes.
“Reading perceived weaknesses as strengths and persistent setbacks as evidence of perseverance, journalist Shlaes (The Forgotten Man) glowingly portrays Coolidge as an unappreciated economic hero. Born in Vermont in 1872, Coolidge studied law in Northampton, Mass., married schoolteacher Grace Goodhue, and doggedly climbed the Republican political ladder. From governor of Massachusetts to vice president and then president of the United States, Coolidge distanced himself from the progressive elements of his party; he championed low taxes, small government, and commerce as the foundations of prosperity. Shlaes writes with crisp, engaging prose, and her keen eye for detail is rooted in a solid collection of source material. But the story’s unrelenting linear trajectory bounces between such disparate topics as tax policies, maple syrup, and aviation with little indication of the degree of importance. Shlaes’s reluctance to critically analyze Coolidge’s political policies and actions is especially evident in her avoidance of delving into what Coolidge may have known about the Harding scandals and about weaknesses in the economy. Shlaes successfully shows, through clear explanations of Coolidge’s fiscal policies, why modern-day conservatives should consider him an economic hero, but she fails to illuminate what it meant for all Americans to Keep Cool with Coolidge during the complex 1920s. 16-page b&w photo insert. Agents: Sarah Chalfant, Scott Moyers, Adam Eaglin, and Andrew Wylie, the Wylie Agency. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved” (Publisher Weekly) (Courtesy of Syndetics)

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This month’s Recent Picks include books on various types of martial arts, poker, fishing, wrestling and golf.

Syndetics book coverKrav Maga for Beginners : a step-by-step guide to the world’s easiest-to-learn, most-effective fitness and fighting program / Darren Levine, John Whitman, Ryan Hoover ; photographs by Andy Mogg.
“In Israel, Krav Maga is the official system used to teach self-defense. The no-holds-barred techniques–including cardio, strength training, and fight moves are easy to learn, require a minimal amount of strength, and, most importantly, are designed to immobilize an attacker.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEverest 1953 : The Epic Story of the First Ascent / Mick Conefrey.
“Mick Conefrey tells the real story of Everest 1953, revealing that what has gone down in history as a supremely well-planned attempt was in fact beset by crises – both on and off the mountain. To succeed, team leader Colonel John Hunt and his team had to draw on unimaginable skill and determination, as well as sheer British ingenuity.” (Books in Print)

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