Reviews

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General comments

‘Like [Michael] King and [Keith] Sinclair, Wright has profound knowledge of his subject and uses lucid prose to convey it…He is deeply interested in the why of things, in the complex interplay of environment, economics and personalities.’
Fritz Logan, Timaru Herald, 21 November 2009.

‘Familiar places become much more fascinating and monumental as a result of Wright’s multi-faceted treatment of his subject…the extent of his research into the archives is obvious… We can discern here the true paths of human interaction in all their complexity.’
Mick Ludden, Wairarapa Times-Age, 17 February 2007.

“Who would have imagined Michael King’s history would so soon be challenged on several major points?  You do not have to be an ageing academic to enjoy the gentle battles of intellectual giants: Wright is readable, and…authoritative.
James Ritchie, Waikato Times, 23 December 2006.

“Wright is rapidly emerging as one of our most prolific military and social historians, an assiduous researcher and no mere blinkered follower of academic and ideological fashion.  Far from it.”
– Edmund Bohan, The Press, 16 September 2006.

“…[an] unrivalled blend of compelling scholarly detail and poignant human interest…”
Wairarapa Times-Age, 10 June 2006.

NZ Wars, analysis revisited
Edmund Bohan
The Press, 16 September 2006
Two Peoples, One Land: the New Zealand Wars  (Reed, Auckland 2006)

Contact me to buy a copy.
Contact me to buy a copy.

‘Matthew Wright is rapidly emerging as one of our most prolific military and social historians, an assiduous researcher and no mere blinkered follower of academic and ideological fashion.  Far from it.  As our pre-eminent military historian, Christopher Pugsley, emphasises in a foreword to this book, this is a re-examination of the validity of many of the theories and assumptions underlying James Belich’s stimulating but seriously flawed and now out-dated The New Zealand Wars and the Victorian Interpretation of Racial Conflict (1986). And without a doubt Wright demolishes many of those theories and corrects many of Belich’s errors and his more fanciful and extravagant assertions, through superior knowledge of military history and ruthless logic.

‘He does so in the most polite – and even discreet – manner; rather than brazenly naming Belich in his text, as both Pugsley and I have done in our own various writings, he is content to refer to him simply as ‘a revisionist historian’ or simply ‘an historian’.

‘Wright has produced as detailed, sensible and satisfactory a military history of the campaigns waged between 1845 and 1872 as one might hope to read.  He also places those campaigns within the historical context of the inter-tribal Musket Wars from which they emerged, and the political, social and cultural campaigns that succeeded them; and he acutely summarises changing historical attitudes…It is splendidly illustrated and the footnotes are exemplary.’

Old South
Penguin, Auckland 2009

‘A really significant contribution to our history’ – Harry Broad, Radio New Zealand National, 10 September 2009.

‘Fans of Keith Sinclair and Michael King will likely be or become fans of Matthew Wright as well. Like King and Sinclair, Wright has a profound knowledge of his subject and uses lucid prose to convey it. And, like King’s, Wright’s knowledge extends equally to Maori and Pakeha. He is deeply interested in the why of things, in the complex interplay of environment, economics and personalities…this vibrant history has, in Matthew Wright, a worthy and very able scholar to explain it.” – Fritz Logan, Timaru Herald, 21 November 2009.

‘In this book, Wright attempts to meet Leo Tolstoy’s challenge as expressed in War and Peace: the subject of history is the life of peoples and of humanity…’ –  Vic Evans, Nelson Mail, 25 November 2009.

Bateman Illustrated History of New Zealand
David Bateman, Auckland 2013

Wright_Bateman Illustrated History of New Zealand‘Books of this sweep, length, and immensity of topic are often described as “ambitious”. That it certainly is, but it is an ambition emphatically realised. Both author and publisher have done a great job …  Everyone who lives in this country would benefit from reading this book, and would enjoy it’ – Graeme Barrow, Northern Advocate.

‘Wright has covered a lot of ground, engaged with the best of current historical and archaeological thinking and served up a lively, sound general history of New Zealand for the general reader. Bateman should also take another bow, the $49.99 RRP is a bargain these days for such a massive, profusely illustrated book.’ Gavin McLean, Otago Daily Times.

‘…an extraordinarily accessible journey through our arguably short but undeniably rich history.  I recommend it to anyone who has an active interest in the past or has simply been looking for an excuse to learn more about the events that shaped this country.’ – Lemuel Lyes, ‘History Geek’ blog.

Freyberg’s War: the man, the legend and reality
Penguin, Auckland 2005

“If anyone is best equipped to pen a definitive study of one of, if not the, greatest military leader in New Zealand’s history, it would be Matthew Wright”.
– Mark Taylor, The Southland Times, 20 April 2005.

“This book shows scholarship, objectivity and humanity…[it] should become a standard work in New Zealand military circles”
– Neil Frances, Wairarapa Times-Age, 14 April 2005.

“…a painstaking and complete war biography of New Zealand’s most famous soldier”
– Greg Dixon, Weekend Herald, Canvas, 16 April 2005.

“Matthew Wright attempts to give a fuller picture of the man who led New Zealand troops…He succeeds. It is a monumental work.”
– Warwick Roger, North and South, May 2005.

“This is an important book for the record. In it, Wright has effectively silenced the doubts about one of New Zealand’s greatest”.
– Jim Callaghan, Wanganui Chronicle, 2 July 2005.

 

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