Book Reviews: April 2021

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A LIFE ON OUR PLANET

David Attenborough

Penguin Random House

RRP $40

A legacy-defi ning book from Sir David Attenborough, refl ecting on his life’s work, the dramatic changes to the planet he has witnessed, and what we can do to make a better future. See the world. Then make it better. “I am 93. I’ve had an extraordinary life. It’s only now that I appreciate how extraordinary. As a young man, I felt I was out there in the wild, experiencing the untouched natural world – but it was an illusion. The tragedy of our time has been happening all around us, barely noticeable from day to day – the loss of our planet’s wild places, its biodiversity. I have been witness to this decline. A Life on Our Planet is my witness statement, and my vision for the future. It is the story of how we came to make this, our greatest mistake – and how, if we act now, we can yet put it right.”

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PERFECTION – THE LIFE AND TIMES OF SIR WILLIAM MANCHESTER

Earle Brown & Michael F. Klaassen

Mary Egan Publishing

RRP $39.95

Hailing from small beginnings in rural Waimate, William Manchester became a battalion medical o cer with the New Zealand Army in the United Kingdom during the Second World War. Selected in 1941 to train as a plastic surgeon, serendipitously under the supervision of the great pioneers Gillies, McIndoe, Mowlem and Barron – all New Zealanders – he excelled in this evolving surgical craft. At the end of 1950, he established the plastic surgery unit at Middlemore Hospital in Auckland, where he trained generations of young surgeons and nurses, became a world expert on the multi-disciplinary management of cleft lip and palate, as well as a leader and political mentor on the world stage of plastic and reconstructive surgery.

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THE 52 WEEK PROJECT

Lauren Keenan

Allen & Unwin

RRP $32.99

It was winter. Lauren Keenan was separated from her husband, lonely, and miserable. Then came the night of Twenty-Seven Rejections of Doom: she asked 27 people to hang out one Friday night, and every single person said no. Lauren realised her life wasn’t working for her and that she needed to change it. It was time to try something new. She made a resolution: she’d try 52 new things in 52 weeks. From zip-lining to entering a stand-up comedy night; swimming with sharks to detoxing from social media; giving up alcohol for six months to going to a music festival alone; Lauren put herself out there with surprising results. Her year of new experiences was a game changer. It repaired her relationship with her husband, she regained confi dence in herself, and she realised how satisfying it can be to push yourself to your limits and to do things on your own.


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THE PERFECT SHOT

Lonely Planet

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RRP $49.99

Lonely Planet celebrates decades of award-winning travel photography and reveals the stories behind the images in The Perfect Shot. This beautiful book contains over 200 stunning travel images, each is accompanied by instructions of the camera set up, expert tips around composition and details of the destination. Destinations range from the remote Faroe Islands to the renowned Colosseum in Rome. Matt Phillips who assembled the collection for Lonely Planet says of the photographers, “their passion and dedication to the visual world are beyond anything I could dream of, as are their photographic skills, patience and persistence.” From snapping farmers on Madagascar’s Avenue des Baobas as they walk to the fi elds at sunrise to marvelling at an aerial shot of the turquoise hued Heart Reef on the Great Barrier Reef each stunning photograph has an equally compelling story behind how it was captured.

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HITLER AND STALIN

Laurence Rees

Penguin Random House

RRP $40

This compelling book on Hitler and Stalin – the culmination of 30 years’ work – examines the two tyrants during the Second World War, when Germany and the Soviet Union fought the biggest and bloodiest war in history. Yet despite the fact they were bitter opponents, Laurence Rees shows that Hitler and Stalin were, to a large extent, di erent sides of the same coin. Both were prepared to create undreamt of su ering, destroy individual liberty and twist facts in order to build the Utopia they wanted, and while Hitler’s creation of the Holocaust remains a singular crime, Rees shows why we must not forget that Stalin committed a series of atrocities at the same time. Using previously unpublished eyewitness testimony from soldiers of the Red Army and Wehrmacht, bestselling historian Laurence Rees challenges long-held popular misconceptions about two of the most important fi gures in history.

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SURF DREAMS

Derek Morrison

Penguin Random House

RRP $50

From Ahipara in the north to Riverton in the south, Derek Morrison has surfed and photographed the best spots up and down the country. In this spectacularly illustrated book, he presents 15 major surfi ng communities and those who live there and who live to surf (Ahipara, Tutukaka, Piha, Whangamata, Mt Maunganui, Raglan, Taranaki, Gisborne, Lyall Bay, Kaikoura, Westport, Greymouth, Sumner, Dunedin, Riverton). Derek says of his journey writing the book, “Along the way I learnt you can’t have your future without your past. These days that gets forgotten very easily. The people who shaped the sport here, the early innovators and athletes – they’re the real heroes in this story and I’m stoked to have been able to include so many of their stories.” Including a foreword by legendary surfer, sur oard designer and shaper Roger Hall, Surf Dreams is a spectacular summary of surfi ng culture and its importance to Kiwis.

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