Interesting look at not-so-well-known NZ history

July 15, 2006
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The Bookmen’s Dominion, by Chris Hilliard (Auckland University Press, $34.99):

Taking a look at an almost forgotten chapter in New Zealand’s history, The Bookmen’s Dominion focuses on the activities and networks of historians and literary critics during the 1920s and 1930s.

Author Chris Hilliard — who studied New Zealand history at the University of Auckland — was the recipient of one of Harvard’s most prestigious writing awards, the Bowdoin Prize, joining the ranks of high calibre writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson.

From the 1920s, scholars, critics, librarians, historians and literary lawyers were the gatekeepers of poetic taste and historical awareness.

They acted as go-betweens for authors and publishers, championed women’s rights and 11 of them got together to write a murder mystery.

Gentlemanly yet blokey, these “bookmen” were truly fascinating.

This story of how they came about and what they did really is interesting reading and offers a look at a part of New Zealand’s history that many of us know little about — if we even knew they existed at all.

Well worth a look for curiosity value alone.

Jillian Allison-Aitken

I come from the other land down under, where men are men, and sheep are nervous. I'm a sub-editor and in the past have been a proof-reader, news editor and web editor. I am also an ex-columnist, and book and software reviewer for the local daily newspaper.I still read. A lot. And surf the web. Also a lot.You'll find a little about both of those pastimes here, and on By George.

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One Response to Interesting look at not-so-well-known NZ history

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