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Book reviews: February 2023

3 min read
February 2023 book reviews

Pick of the month

Tracking and Finding Deer in New Zealand
Roger Lentle
Bateman books
$34.99
Reviewed by Tony Orman

Readers may recall Roger Lentle’s fine books – co-authored with Frank Saxton – on big game hunting. Now, with more than 50 years of hunting experience under his belt, he has written a new book on how to find deer with some finely detailed research and insights into tracks and deer signs.

There’s a particularly excellent chapter on tracking and finding wounded deer. Even the most sportsmanlike hunter has the potential to occasionally wound an animal. The advice will go a long way to ensuring the animal is retrieved and not lost to rot.

Tracking and Finding Deer in New Zealand is an invaluable manual for every Kiwi hunter.

More good reads

Paul Newman: The Extraordinary Life of
an Ordinary Man
Penguin Random House
$50
Reviewed by Steve Atkinson

Perhaps I’m getting too short on patience, but I expected more from one of the Boomer generation’s iconic movie stars. The autobiography follows Paul Newman from childhood, through college, and onto his formative years of stage acting, marriage, stardom, divorce, motor racing, blah, blah – you get the picture.

All of this is delivered reasonably well as if it has been storyboarded out and polished up for public reading consumption. What it fails to do in my opinion, is provide anything that can’t be found with a simple online search.

Like most autobiographies, it’s one person’s version of events and not a very interesting one, so I’ve found out.

The Ship Beneath the Ice
The discovery of Shackleton’s Endurance
Mensun Bound
$36.99
Macmillan
Reviewed By Steve Atkinson

There is a strong Kiwi connection to early Antarctic exploration, with Sir Ernest Shackleton’s expedition in 1915 holding particular interest, primarily because his ship Endurance became ice-bound, eventually sinking and leaving all 28 crew, 70 dogs, and a cat stranded. What followed could have had Bear Grylls crying for his mama, as many months passed without rescue, eventually necessitating a long open sea voyage for a small crew in an equally small craft.

The Kiwi link was Endurance’s former ship captain Frank Worsley who navigated them to safety, effectively laying out the rescue of all the others.

Selling Britishness: Commodity Culture, the Dominions, and Empire
Felicity Barnes
$49.99
Auckland University Press
Reviewed by Steve Atkinson

Apparently, China, Australia, the US, Japan, and South Korea (in that order) are the five
largest buyers of New Zealand exports, but once upon a time, the UK was at the top of the list,
with our country being cited as their food basket, and it feeling pretty good to be earning some decent coin.

The book takes a historical look at how goods from the dominions of New Zealand, Australia, and Canada were marketed and the different tactics used to part Brit households with their money.

Unfortunately, the book had a heavy academic slant, making it less enjoyable for me to read, but nonetheless an interesting historical recap.

It’s all amazing stuff and the author and his team found the sunken ship in early 2022.

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