Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"The Life and Times of Auckland"

Launched last week, Gordon McLauchlan's The Life and Times of Auckland has me hooked. A popular history of Auckland and its origins, so far it's a very good read, and well written. Check it out at the library to see what I mean.

Actually, on impulse (and because I've been waiting for it since I heard it was in the pipeline), I've also recently bought Urban Village, the history of Ponsonby, Freeman's Bay and St Mary's Bay. A massive 444 pages doesn't quite manage to cover the area in as much depth as it should at first glance, but this is still a creditable effort and certainly helps to fill in a gap in our knowledge of the history of Auckland isthmus.

An update (5 November): I've finished Gordon McLauchlan's book -- and one word describes it -- disappointing. This was how a friend of mine and fellow Auckland historian referred to it,. and I have to agree. It is patchy in detail, the most written about are the topics that appear to hold McLauchlan's interest. But the book is a collection of essays, rather than a cohesive whole, and the essays are riddled with errors and historical inaccuracies. I now see why he has sub-titled it "The Colourful Story of a City" -- "colourful", but without real substance except in isolated patches of clarity.

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