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I have read and thoroughly enjoyed Jenny Carlyon and Diana Morrow’s previous Auckland-centred Histories and I can say that this book was just as good. Their previous books have been in the Coffee Table book format and while I was not initially sure that I liked the paperback format for this book, I can say that on reading it, the publisher went with the right format.
A big book, it’s spread is wide and it’s topics many and varied.
Taking us back in time, we start at the end of WWII with a somewhat sleepy nation that has awoken to the fact that change is in the air, facilitated by both the demands placed on New Zealand by the just-ended war, and the unspoken role reversal that occurred in many industries as a result of the male populace going overseas…Rosie the Riveter may have been acknowledged but accept her filling this role in peace-time: no way.
Well written and very well researched, the book takes it’s reader on a journey that covers every aspect of New Zealand life from Culture and Character, Leisure and Popular Pastimes, Political Ferment, Feminism and Gay Rights, Race Relations, the huge transformation brought to the Government owned industries and their employees when these were sold off, the 1981 Springbok Tour that so divided us. It really covered every major and minor event that has shaped us since the end of WWII. When reflecting back on the book, I couldn’t help but think how powerful the change of mind set in the women of New Zealand was, and even though it was many years before it was acted on, the seed had been planted.
This is a very readable book, it does what it set out to do especially in showing why change was needed and illuminating the forces that brought change and the people and places that carried change forward, rightly or wrongly. It is not simply a book of people, places and facts, it is a shared journey type of book, it will get you thinking. It has great illustrations and I would like to see a copy of it in every school library in New Zealand, it is a great resource.
Thank you to Auckland University Press and Booksellers NZ for my copy of this book.
Reviewed by Marion Dreadon
Changing Times: New Zealand Since 1945
by Jenny Carlyon & Diana Morrow
Published by Auckland University PressISBN 9781869407827