Scoop Review of Books

Archive for April, 2017

Release: The New Zealand Project

The New Zealand Project by Max Harris (Bridget Williams Books, $40)


bwb1001_max_harris_the_nz_project_cover_300ppi-002It would be tempting to say that Max Harris is a young man in a hurry. Certainly there is a sense of urgency evident in the pages of The New Zealand Project, the title of this, his extraordinary first book: extraordinary in its maturity, its intellectual scope, its creative vision and its – literally – death-defying origins. But to say he is in a hurry would be to mischaracterise his ultimate ambition and the deliberate, careful and often lyrical manner in which he presents and interrogates it. Which is just as well, since his goal for the book is nothing less than ‘rediscovering New Zealand’s lost direction’.

I haven’t lived long enough yet to have lost a sense of hope or a sense of the possible. But I’ve lived long enough to know that things are moving too slowly for those of us with hope, who want to make the impossible possible. And I’ve lived close enough to death to feel like we have no time to lose.
Max Harris, The New Zealand Project


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Why Are We in Afghanistan?

Book Review
Hit & Run: The New Zealand SAS in Afghanistan and the meaning of honour
by Nicky Hager & Jon Stephenson (Potton & Burton, $35)
Reviewed by Vaughan Rapatahana

hit-run-600px-max-800This slim, 159 page soft cover book – for anyone who never goes near online news sources – has swiftly metastasised into a much larger and harder online tome replete with finger-pointing, counter-story, accusation and allegation, even calls for a commission of Inquiry. As I pen this review, it has taken on a life larger than its own

Hager and Stephenson are colleagues in a very rare Aotearoa corps; namely that of investigative, penetrating – some would say mud-slinging – journalists, who are never afraid to cast guilt when they think it is merited, which is certainly a key impetus here.

For the authors repetitively claim that the New Zealand Defence Force, camouflaged in the more specialised garb of the supposedly-elite SAS, blitzkrieged two small rural villages in Bamiyan province, Afghanistan during a raid codenamed Operation Burnham, on the evening of August 22, 2010. Not only were the SAS responsible for advocating and then actioning the actual raid, they also pinpointed what homes to destroy and which people to obliterate for the ever-ready fingers in U.S. Air Force Apache helicopter gunships lurking there as an important weave in an overall allied eiderdown.

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