Friday 12 November 2021


List #3: SOCIETY

We recommend these books as seasonal gifts and for summer reading. Click through to our website to reserve or purchase your copies—we will have them delivered anywhere or aside for collection. Let us know if you would like them gift-wrapped. 
If you don't find what you're looking for here, browse our website, or e-mail us: we have many other interesting books on our shelves.

The Forgotten Coast by Richard Alter-Shaw             $35
A short memoir whose main focus is unpacking a family story that was never told: that a farm in Taranaki on which the family's generations-long comfortable fortunes rested had been directly taken from the people of Parikaha and given to anancestor, a member of the Armed Constabulary following the invasion of the village during the New Zealand Wars.
a bathful of kawakawa and hot water by Hana Pera Aoake              $28
"Writing with radical tenderness, with beauty and pain and precision, Hana Pera Aoake envisions an anticapitalist, de-colonial, Indigenous way of living and being, transcending the borders of poetry and prose in a style similar to that of Claudia Rankine and Layli Long Soldier. A bath full of kawakawa and hot water is an essential poetic text in the literature of Aotearoa, and a call to action at the end of the world." —Nina Mingya Powles
"Part memoir, part myth, part rant, part dream, part chant. This is an exciting and poignant book from one of my favourite NZ writers." —Zarah Butcher-McGunnigle
"Hybrid in form and theme, what cyborg melts hierarchies, what cyborg turns the gender binary to dust, what cyborg fights for our mana motuhake? This one! Read this book and then do something about it." —essa may ranapiri
The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel            $48
A wonderful graphic memoir of Bechdel's lifelong love affair with exercise— set against a hilarious chronicle of fitness fads in our times.

Underground: Marsupial outlaws and other rebels of Australia's war in Vietnam by Mirranda Burton             $33
A superbly drawn graphic novel recalibrating the history of the entwined Australian and New Zealand involvement in the Vietnam War. Led by an unconscientiously objecting wombat registered for military service during Australia's war in Vietnam, Underground digs tunnels through a chapter of Australian history that many have attempted to bury. Why would a wombat be registered for war? It's 1965, and an old Tattersalls barrel starts rolling marbles to randomly conscript young Australian men to fight in the war in Vietnam. Melbourne housewife Jean McLean is outraged, as are her artist friends Clif and Marlene Pugh, who live in the country with their wombat, Hooper. Determined to wreck the system, Jean forms the Save Our Sons movement's Victorian branch, and she and her supporters take to the streets to protest. Meanwhile, in the small country town of Katunga, Bill Cantwell joins the Australian Army, and in Saigon, young Mai Ho is writing letters to South Vietnamese soldiers from her school desk. And when Hooper's call-up papers arrive, he mysteriously goes underground... As these stories intersect in unexpected ways and destinies entwine, a new world gradually emerges - a world in which bridges of understanding make more sense than war.
Long Peace Street: A walk in modern China by Jonathan Chatwin              $35
Through the centre of China's historic capital, Long Peace Street cuts a long, arrow-straight line. It divides the Forbidden City, home to generations of Chinese emperors, from Tiananmen Square, the vast granite square constructed to glorify a New China under Communist rule. To walk the street is to travel through the story of China's recent past, wandering among its physical relics and hearing echoes of its dramas. Long Peace Street recounts a journey in modern China, a walk of twenty miles across Beijing offering a very personal encounter with the life of the capital's streets. At the same time, it takes the reader on a journey through the city's recent history.

An important book, not only reassessing the achievements—and failures—of Churchill's life and leadership, but examining the legacies of the 'Churchill myth' on all that has come after, from Tony Blair's eagerness to follow the United States into war in Iraq to the belief in British exceptionalism that underpinned Brexit. 
"Provocative, clear-sighted, richly textured and wonderfully readable, this is the indispensable biography of Churchill for the post-Brexit 2020s." —David Kynaston
Black Paper: Writing in a dark time by Teju Cole             $45
"Darkness is not empty," writes Teju Cole in this book that meditates on what it means to sustain our humanity—and witness the humanity of others—in a time of darkness. Wide-ranging but thematically unified, the essays address ethical questions about what it means to be human and what it means to bear witness, recognising how our individual present is informed by a collective past. Cole's writings in Black Paper approach the fractured moment through a constellation of interrelated concerns: confrontation with unsettling art, elegies both public and private, the defense of writing in a time of political upheaval, the role of the colour black in the visual arts, the use of shadow in photography, and the links between literature and activism. Throughout, Cole gives us intriguing new ways of thinking about blackness and its numerous connotations. "Writing on the top white sheet would transfer the carbon from the black paper onto the bottom white sheet. Black transported the meaning."
Labour Saving by Michael Cullen            $50
Cullen describes his lengthy political career, including his major economic policies. Among the many highlights are the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, also known as the Cullen Fund; Kiwisaver; and the Working for Families package, which sought to reduce inequalities. Well written. 

The History of a Riot by Jared Davidson            $15
"Nelson in 1843 was a violent place." In 1843 the New Zealand Company settlement of Nelson was rocked by the revolt of its immigrant labourers. Over 70 gang-men and their wives collectively resisted their poor working conditions through petitions, strikes and, ultimately, violence. Yet this pivotal struggle went on to be obscured by stories of pioneering men and women 'made good'. The History of a Riot uncovers those at the heart of the revolt for the first time. Who were they? Where were they from? And how did their experience of protest before arriving in Nelson influence their struggle? By putting violence and class conflict at the centre, this fascinating microhistory upends the familiar image of colonial New Zealand.
The Penguin Book of Feminist Writing edited by Hannah Dawson          $55
Beginning in the fifteenth century with Christine de Pizan, who imagined a City of Ladies that would serve as a refuge from the harassment of men, the book reaches around the whole earth and through history to us, now, splashing about in the fourth wave. It goes beyond the usual white, Western story, attentive also to class, capitalism and colonialism, and to the other axes of oppression that intersect with sexism. Alongside Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who declared in Seneca Falls in 1848 the self-evident truth 'that all men and women are created equal', we find Sojourner Truth, born into slavery in New York in 1797, who asked 'and ain't I a woman?' Draws on poems, novels and memoirs, as well roaring manifestos.
Letters to Camondo by Edmund de Waal               $37
Count Moise de Camondo lived a few doors away from Edmund de Waal's forebears, the Ephrussi, first encountered in his bestselling memoir The Hare with Amber Eyes. Like the Ephrussi, the Camondos were part of belle epoque high society. They were also targets of anti-semitism. Camondo created a spectacular house and filled it with the greatest private collection of French eighteenth-century art for his son to inherit. But when Nissim was killed in the First World War, it became a memorial and, on the Count's death, was bequeathed to France. The Musee Nissim de Camondo has remained unchanged since 1936. Edmund de Waal explores the lavish rooms and detailed archives and uncovers new layers to the family story. In a haunting series of letters addressed to the Count, he tells us what happened next.  A beautifully presented illustrated hardback. 
>>Visit the Musee Nissim de Camondo
>>The Library of Exile
Kate Edger: The life of a pioneering feminist by Diana Morrow           $40
In 1877, Kate Edger became the first woman to graduate from a New Zealand university. The New Zealand Herald enthusiastically hailed her achievement as 'the first rays of the rising sun of female intellectual advancement'. Edger went on to become a pioneer of women's education in New Zealand. In 1883, she was the founding principal of Nelson College for Girls. She also worked to mitigate violence against women and children and to fortify their rights through progressive legislation. She campaigned for women's suffrage and played a prominent role in the Women's Christian Temperance Union and in Wellington's Society for the Protection of Women and Children. Later in life she advocated international diplomacy and co-operation through her work for the League of Nations Union.
The Dawn of Everything: A new history of humanity by David Graeber and David Wengrow         $75
This remarkable book challenges our received narratives of historical determinism, narratives that were devised in the eighteenth century as a conservative reaction to critiques of European culture inherent in the Indigenous cultures then entering European awareness. If we unshackle ourselves from thee preconceptions about human 'progress' and look more closely at the evidence, we find a wide array of ways in which humans have lived with each other, and with the natural world. Many of these can provide templates for new forms of social organisation, and lead us to rethink farming, property, cities, democracy, slavery, and civilisation itself.

Sapiens, A graphic history, 1: The birth of humankind by Noah Yuval Harari, David Vandermeulen and Daniel Casanave       $48
Noah Yuval Harari's remarkable set of thinking tools for looking at human history are now presented as a graphic novel. 

Sapiens: A graphic history, Volume 2: The Pillars of Civilisation by Yuval Noah Harari, David Vandermeulen and Daniel Casanave         $48
When nomadic Homo sapiens settled to live in one place, they started working harder and harder. But why didn't they get a better life in return? In The Pillars of Civilisation, Yuval Noah Harari and his companions including Prof. Saraswati and Dr. Fiction travel the length and breadth of human history to investigate how the Agricultural Revolution changed society forever. Discover how wheat took over the world, how war, famine, disease and inequality became a part of the human condition, and why we might only have ourselves to blame. Nicely drawn. Follows The Birth of Humankind
Using a bioarchaeological approach, Jarman follows evidence that suggests a Viking-dominated trade and slave route from Northern Europe to the Middle East, India and beyond, and reconfigures our thinking about the Vikings themselves.  
Parenting in the Anthropocene edited by Emma Johnson          $30
Humans are changing the world in extremely complex ways, creating a new geological age called the Anthropocene. How do we – as parents, caregivers and as a society – raise our children and dependents in this new world? This book explores ways to ensure the health and wellbeing of the next generations, with a view to encouraging inclusivity and critical discourse at a time of climate crisis, inequality and polarisation. From tikanga Māori and collective care in child-rearing through to new family forms, futures literacy, and shifting economic paradigms and societal structures, Parenting in the Anthropocene is a reflection of both the world we live in and the one we aspire to. Contents: 'Bountiful' — Emily Writes (writer & mother): 'Parenting in the first 1000 days: Moving towards equity' — Amanda Malu (CEO of Whānau Awhina Plunket); 'Stories for the children of the Anthropocene' — Jess Berentson-Shaw (researcher & advocate): 'The future is ours to design and build' — Dr David Galler (intensive care specialist): 'Inheriting climate disruption' — Mia Sutherland (youth climate-change activist); 'When do we talk about childlessness?' — Briohny Doyle (writer & lecturer); 'Reproductive and familial futures in Aotearoa New Zealand' — Nicola Surtees, PhD (academic & former ECE teacher); 'Poipoia te kākano: Nuturing tamariki Māori' — Leonie Pihama (Te tiawa, Waikato, Ngā Māhanga a Tairi); 'Be kind' — Brannavan Gnanalingam (writer & lawyer); 'Futures literacy and youth resilience: Educating for the future' — Amy L. Fletcher, PhD (academic & futurist); 'Are our children capitalism’s succession plan?' — Sacha McMeeking (researcher & commentator); 'Books for challenging times: Children and youngsters' — Terrisa Goldsmith (librarian); 'Books for challenging times: Caregivers' — Jane Keenan (librarian)
Empire of Pain: The secret history of the Sackler dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe             $40
Winner of the 2021 Baillie Gifford Prize. 
The Sacklers are one of the richest families in the world, known for their lavish donations in the arts and the sciences. The source of the family fortune was vague, however, until it emerged that the Sacklers were responsible for making and marketing Oxycontin, a blockbuster painkiller that was a catalyst for the opioid crisis-an international epidemic of drug addiction which has killed nearly half a million people. Compelling. 
Wars Without End; Ngā Pakanga Whenua o Mua: New Zealand's land wars, A Māori perspective by Danny Keenan              $40
The possession and dispossession of land continues to cast a long shadow between the partners of the Treaty of Waitangi, and until these issues are adequately addressed a wound will remain in New Zealand race relations. 

Helen Kelly: Her life by Rebecca Macfie           $50
Kelly was the first woman to lead the country’s trade union movement: a visionary who believed that all workers, whether in a union or not, deserved to be given a fair go; a fighter from a deeply communist family who never gave up the struggle; a strategist and orator who invoked strong loyalty; a woman who could stir fierce emotions. Her battles with famous people were the stuff of headlines. Macfie examines not only  Kelly’s life but also a defining period in the country’s history, when old values were replaced by the individualism of neo-liberalism, and the wellbeing and livelihood of workers faced unremitting stress.
Imagining Decolonisation by Rebecca Kiddle, Bianca Elkington, Moana Jackson, Ocean Ripeka Mercier, Mike Ross, Jennie Smeaton, and Amanda Thomas         $15
What is decolonisation? Why is it urgent? What would Aotearoa be like if it were decolonised? Certainly the way in which Aotearoa was colonised is responsible for many of the social, ethical and environmental problems we face collectively today—could a process of decolonisation remedy some of these problems and create a more equitable, healthy and sustainable approach to living in this place in the twenty-first century?
Black Spartacus: The epic life of Toussaint Louverture by Sudhir Hazareesingh         $65
The Haitian Revolution began in the French Caribbean colony of Saint-Domingue with a slave revolt in August 1791, and culminated a dozen years later in the proclamation of the world's first independent black state. After the abolition of slavery in 1793, Toussaint Louverture, himself a former slave, became the leader of the colony's black population, the commander of its republican army and eventually its governor. During the course of his extraordinary life he confronted some of the dominant forces of his age—slavery, settler colonialism, imperialism and racial hierarchy. Treacherously seized by Napoleon's invading army in 1802, this charismatic figure ended his days, in Wordsworth's phrase, "the most unhappy man of men", imprisoned in a fortress in France.
Uprising: Walking the Southern Alps of New Zealand by Nic Low          $40
Guided by Ngāi Tahu’s ancient oral maps supplemented by a modern satellite atlas, Low crossed the Southern Alps more than a dozen times, trying to understand the relationship between people and land — both now and in history — and seeking to reclaim his ancestors’ view of a world in which these mountains loomed large. If walking is in itself a form of knowing, what can we learn from tracing the backbone of the island on which we live? 

War: How conflict shaped us by Margaret MacMillan          $45

There is always a war in progress somewhere—is it an essential part of being human? What is the relationship between society and war? Economies, science, technology, medicine, culture: all are instrumental in war and have been shaped by it—without conflict it we might not have had penicillin, female emancipation, radar or rockets. Throughout history, writers, artists, film-makers, playwrights, and composers have been inspired by war—whether to condemn, exalt or simply puzzle about it. If we are never to be rid of war, how should we think about it and what does that mean for peace?

The Power of Geography: Ten maps that reveal the future of the world by Tim Marshall            $38
Marshall's global bestseller Prisoners of Geography showed how every nation's choices are limited by mountains, rivers, seas and concrete. Since then, the geography hasn't changed, but the world has. In this new book, Marshall takes us into ten regions that are set to shape global politics and power. Find out why the Earth's atmosphere is the world's next battleground; why the fight for the Pacific is just beginning; and why Europe's next refugee crisis is closer than it thinks. Chapters cover Australia, The Sahel, Greece, Turkey, the UK, Iran, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and Space.

NUKU: Stories of 100 indigenous women by Qiane Matata-Sipu           $65
An interesting and inspiring snapshot of Indigenous wāhine today, with both text and photographs. Through wide-ranging voices this ambitious social documentary showcases diverse representations of leadership, systems change and success. From Oscar-nominated filmmakers and award-winning musicians, to scientists, entrepreneurs, tribal leaders, artists, environmental champions, knowledge holders, mothers and more. The youngest wahine is 14, the eldest is in her mid-70s, and their locations span both North and South Islands of Aotearoa and across to Rēkohu (Chatham Islands). They are wāhine Māori, wāhine Moriori, Pasifika, Melanesian, Wijadjuri, Himalayan and Mexican.
>>Check out the NUKU 100. 
Mortals: How the fear of death shaped human society by Rachel E. Menzies and Ross G. Menzies              $40
The human mind can grapple with the future, visualising and calculating solutions to complex problems, giving us advantages over other species throughout our evolutionary history. However, this capability comes with a curse. By five to ten years of age, all humans know where they are ultimately heading: to the grave. Rachel and Ross Menzies examine the major human responses to death across history, from the development of religious systems denying the finality of death to 'immortality projects' involving enduring art, architecture and literature. While some of these have been glorious, like the construction of the pyramids, others have been destructive, leading to global conflicts and genocide. The authors hypothesise that worse is to come — our unconscious dread of death has led to the rampant consumerism and overpopulation of the 20th century, which has driven the global warming and pandemic crises that now threaten our very existence. In a terribly irony, Homo sapiens may ultimately be destroyed by our knowledge of our own mortality.
He Ringatoi o ngā Tūpuna: Isaac Coates and his Māori portraits by Hilary and John Mitchell             $80
Isaac Coates was an Englishman who lived in Wellington and Nelson between 1841 and 1845. During that time he painted watercolour portraits of 58 Māori from Nelson, Marlborough, Wellington, Waikanae and Kapiti. Some of these portraits have been well-known for nearly 180 years, although their creator was not definitively identified until 2000. The discovery in 2007 of a Coates book of portraits in the Pitt Rivers Museum at Oxford University added many previously unknown images to his body of work. The portraits depict Māori men and women from chiefly whakapapa, as well as commoners and at least one slave. Coates's meticulous records of each subject's name, iwi and place of residence are invaluable, and his paintings are strong images of individuals, unlike the more stereotyped work of some of Coates's contemporaries. Whānau, hāpu and iwi treasure Coates's works because they are the only images of some tūpuna, and they are reminders of those who risked their lives to bring their people to a better life in the Cook Strait regions of Kapiti coast, Wellington, Nelson and Marlborough. In He Ringatoi o ngā Tūpuna Te Tau Ihu historians John and Hilary Mitchell unravel the previously unknown story of Isaac Coates, as well as providing biographical details and whakapapa of his subjects, where they can be reliably identified. Meticulously researched and beautifully presented.
Hei Taonga mā ngā Uri Whakatipu | Treasures for the Rising Generation: The Dominion Museum Ethnological Expeditions, 1919–1923 by Wayne Ngata, Arapata Hakiwai, Anne Salmond, Conal McCarthy, Amiria Salmond, Monty Soutar, James Schuster, Billie Lythberg, John Niko Maihi, Sandra Kahu Nepia, Te Wheturere Poope Gray, Te Aroha McDonnell and Natalie Robertson         $75
From 1919 to 1923, at Sir Apirana Ngata’s initiative, a team from the Dominion Museum travelled to tribal areas across Te Ika-a-Māui The North Island to record tikanga Māori that Ngata feared might be disappearing. These ethnographic expeditions, the first in the world to be inspired and guided by indigenous leaders, used cutting-edge technologies that included cinematic film and wax cylinders to record fishing techniques, art forms (weaving, kōwhaiwhai, kapa haka and mōteatea), ancestral rituals and everyday life in the communities they visited. The team visited the 1919 Hui Aroha in Gisborne, the 1920 welcome to the Prince of Wales in Rotorua, and communities along the Whanganui River (1921) and in Tairāwhiti (1923). Medical doctor-soldier-ethnographer Te Rangihīroa (Sir Peter Buck), the expedition’s photographer and film-maker James McDonald, the ethnologist Elsdon Best and Turnbull Librarian Johannes Andersen recorded a wealth of material. This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of these expeditions, and the determination of early twentieth century Māori leaders, including Ngata, Te Rangihiroa, James Carroll, and those in the communities they visited, to pass on ancestral tikanga ‘hei taonga mā ngā uri whakatipu’ as treasures for a rising generation.
The New Zealand Wars of the mid-nineteenth century profoundly shaped the course and direction of our nation's history. This book takes us to the heart of these conflicts with a series of first-hand accounts from Maori and Pakeha who either fought in or witnessed the wars that ravaged New Zealand between 1845 and 1872. From Heni Te Kiri Karamu's narrative of her remarkable exploits as a wahine toa, through to accounts from the field by British soldiers and powerful reports by observers on both sides, we learn about the wars at a human level. The often fragmentary, sometimes hastily written accounts that make up Voices from the New Zealand Wars vividly evoke the extreme emotions — fear, horror, pity and courage — experienced during the most turbulent time in our country's history. Each account is expertly introduced and contextualised, so that the historical record speaks to us vividly through many voices.
September 12: The third test and final protest of the 1981 Springbok tour, photography by Anthony Phelps, foreword by John Minto     $85
A large-format book featuring over 50 superb photographs, many previously unseen, from the Springbok Tour protests of 1981, showing the people, marches, and often violent clashes between the police, protesters and spectators around Eden Park  Photographed on the day of the 3rd rugby test match between New Zealand and South Africa at Eden Park in Auckland with some photos from earlier protest marches including the Day of Shame, the 22nd of July when the first match of the Tour was played. Limited edition of 100 signed copies.
The Origins of You: How childhood shapes later life by Richie Poulton, Jay Belsky, Terrie E. Moffitt, and Avshalom Caspi           $95
Does temperament in childhood predict adult personality? What role do parents play in shaping how a child matures? Is day care bad--or good--for children? Does adolescent delinquency forecast a life of crime? Do genes influence success in life? Is health in adulthood shaped by childhood experiences? A fascinating and important book, based on the internationally significant ongoing Dunedin Study

Today, someone in the wealthiest 1 per cent of adults — now a roughly 40,000-strong club — has a net worth 68 times that of the average New Zealander. Too Much Money is the story of how wealth inequality is changing Aotearoa New Zealand. Possessing wealth opens up opportunities to live in certain areas, get certain kinds of healthcare, make certain kinds of social connections, exert certain kinds of power. But when access to these opportunities becomes alarmingly uneven, the implications are profound. This new book by the country's leading chronicler of economic inequality provides a far-reaching and compelling account of the way that wealth — and its absence — is transforming our lives. Drawing on the latest academic research, personal interviews and previously unexplored data, Too Much Money reveals the way wealth is distributed across the peoples of Aotearoa. Having helped elevate the word 'inequality' into the political lexicon, Max Rashbrooke's widely-anticipated new book arrives at a time of heightened concern for the division of wealth and what this means for our country's future.
Alexandria: The quest for the lost City Beneath the Mountains by Edmund Richardson             $33
For centuries the city of Alexandria Beneath the Mountains was a meeting point of East and West. Then it vanished. In 1833 it was discovered in Afghanistan by the unlikeliest person imaginable: Charles Masson, an ordinary working-class boy from London turned deserter, pilgrim, doctor, archaeologist and scholar. On the way into one of history's most extraordinary stories, Masson would take tea with kings, travel with holy men and become the master of a hundred disguises; he would see things no westerner had glimpsed before and few have glimpsed since. He would spy for the East India Company and be suspected of spying for Russia at the same time, for this was the era of the Great Game, when imperial powers confronted each other in these remote lands. Masson discovered tens of thousands of pieces of Afghan history, including the 2,000-year-old Bimaran golden casket, which has upon it the earliest known face of the Buddha. 
"Full, extraordinary, heart-breaking, utterly brilliant." —William Dalrymple
Azadi: Freedom fascism, fiction by Arundhati Roy             $18
In this series of electrifying essays, Arundhati Roy challenges us to reflect on the meaning of freedom in a world of growing authoritarianism. The essays include meditations on language, public as well as private, and on the role of fiction and alternative imaginations in these disturbing times. The pandemic, she says, is a portal between one world and another. For all the illness and devastation it has left in its wake, it is an invitation to the human race, an opportunity, to imagine another world.

Ngā Kete Mātauranga: Māori scholars at the research interface edited by Jacinta Ruru and Linda Waimarie Nikora         $60
24 Māori academics share their personal journeys, revealing what being Māori has meant for them in their work. 

News, And how to use it by Alan Rusbridger             $28
An A-Z guide on how we stay informed in the era of fake news, from former Guardian Editor-in-Chief Alan Rusbridger. Nothing in life works without facts. A society that isn't sure what's true can't function. Without facts there can be no government or law. Science is ignored. Trust evaporates. People everywhere feel ever more alienated from—and mistrustful of—news and those who make it. We no longer seem to know who or what to believe. We are living through a crisis of 'information chaos'.

Waves Across the South: A new history of revolution and empire by Sujit Sivasundaram              $38
Too often, history is told from the northern hemisphere, with modernity, knowledge, selfhood and politics moving from Europe to influence the rest of the world. This book traces the origins of our times from the perspective of indigenous and non-European people in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. From Aboriginal Australians to Parsis and from Mauritians to Malays, people asserted their place and their future as the British empire drove unexpected change. The tragedy of colonisation was that it reversed the immense possibilities for liberty, humanity and equality in this period. Waves Across the South insists on the significance of the environment: the waves of the Bay of Bengal or the Tasman Sea were the context for this story. Sivasundaram tells how revolution, empire and counter-revolt crashed in the global South. Naval war, imperial rivalry and oceanic trade had their parts to play, but so did hope, false promise, rebellion, knowledge and the pursuit of being modern.
"Fresh, sparkling and ground-breaking, Waves Across the South helps re-centre how we look at the world and opens up new perspectives on how we can look at regions, peoples and places that have been left to one side of traditional histories for far too long." —Peter Frankopan
"Global history at its finest: eloquent, surprising, and deeply moving." —Sunil Amrith, author of Unruly Waters
The Florentines: From Dante to Galileo by Paul Strathern           $37
Between the birth of Dante in 1265 and the death of Galileo in 1642 something happened which transformed the entire culture of western civilisation. Painting, sculpture and architecture would all visibly change in such a striking fashion that there could be no going back on what had taken place. Likewise, the thought and self-conception of humanity would take on a completely new aspect. Sciences would be born, or emerge in an entirely new guise. The ideas which broke this mould largely began, and continued to flourish, in the city of Florence in the province of Tuscany in northern central Italy. These ideas, which placed an increasing emphasis on the development of our common humanity - rather than other-worldly spirituality - coalesced in what came to be known as humanism. This philosophy and its new ideas would eventually spread across Italy, yet wherever they took hold they would retain an element essential to their origin. And as they spread further across Europe this element would remain.
The Commercial Hotel by John Summers         $30
When John Summers moved to a small town in the Wairarapa and began to look closely at the less-celebrated aspects of local life - our club rooms, freezing works, night trains, hotel pubs, landfills - he saw something deeper. It was a story about his own life, but mostly about a place and its people. The story was about life and death in New Zealand. Combining reportage and memoir, The Commercial Hotel is a sharp-eyed, poignant yet often hilarious tour of Aotearoa: a place in which Arcoroc mugs and dog-eared political biographies are as much a part of the scenery as the hills we tramp through ill-equipped. We encounter Elvis impersonators, the eccentric French horn player and adventurer Bernard Shapiro, Norman Kirk balancing timber on his handlebars while cycling to his building site, and Summers's grandmother: the only woman imprisoned in New Zealand for protesting World War Two. And we meet the ghosts who haunt our loneliest spaces. As he follows each of his preoccupations, Summers reveals to us a place we have never quite seen before.
"A beautiful, robust collection of work. Every once in a while a book comes along that you read, reread, and treasure. This is one of those books." —Laurence Fearnley
"This book is an achievement of much clarity and grace, but more importantly it is a work of promise." —Landfall Review Online
The Amur River, Between Russia and China by Colin Thubron             $40
In his eightieth year Thubron travelled the length of the river that divides China from Russia, using public transport where possible and sleeping where he could. In his inimitable elegant prose, he evokes the ordinary lives of those in a place of tension between superpowers. 

Land: How the hunger for ownership shaped the modern world by Simon Winchester           $40
Winchester explores the the possession of land, the ways it is delineated and changes hands, the great disputes, and the questions of restoration – particularly in the light of climate change and colonialist reparation. A global study, this is an exquisite exploration of what the ownership of land might really mean for the people who live on it.

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