Hard News by Russell Brown


Great New Zealand Argument: A limited-time offer!

Back in 2005, I published a book based on Public Address's Great New Zealand Argument historical blog feature. The book, Great New Zealand Argument: Ideas about ourselves, did fairly well -- we got to a second printing -- and I'm still proud of it as a piece of work.

It's most notable, I think, for containing what is still the only published transcript of David Lange's famous speech to the Oxford Union, arguing that 'Nuclear weapons are morally indefensible', along with an exclusive insight on that night in Oxford by Margaret Pope.

It also includes Bill Pearson's famous, bleak but ultimately rousing meditation on New Zealand culture, 'Fretful Sleepers', Sir Keith Sinclair's brilliant and prescient 1963 lecture 'The Historian as Prophet' (which had been out of print for more than 40 years) and Robin Hyde's rediscovered 1938 essay 'The Singers of Loneliness', which was described by Jolisa Gracewood as "equal parts celebration, indictment, and call to action."

With the exception of my introductory essay, Margaret Pope's commentary and Tze Ming Mok's original Landfall essay, 'Race You There', you can still read these works for free on Public Address. Indeed, part of the triumph of the project was showing that you could make these things freely available online and people would still buy the book. In particular, Donald Stenhouse, who cares for Bill Pearson's literary estate, was told by quite a number of people that he was a fool to allow the essay to be published online. He ignored them, and it was with pleasure that I personally delivered him payment for its use in both printings.

Anyway, time passes. First, I realised that running a publishing imprint was demanding and not a good way to pay the rent, so I withdrew from Activity Press. Later, the distributor was wound up and I got word to go and fetch the remaining copies, a hundred-odd, from storage.

I've kept most of them, but I think this is the time to let a few go. Things will be quiet work-wise for the next three months or so, and if I can make a few dollars to underwrite some summer fun, that's a good result for me.

At the moment, I'm releasing 30 signed copies at $35 each: that's the retail price plus $5 for postage and handling. Just click on the button below to buy with either your PayPal account or a credit card. Note that there's a text field for a dedication if you'd like me to add one of those.


UPDATE; Well, that's the 100 copies sold, folks. I've signed and sent 40 and I'll try and get them all away this week. Foreign buyers, yes, I am hearing you and will be in touch.


Meanwhile, you might also care to enjoy a couple of other free gems from the GNZA era: the original audio of the Lange speech, and the very cool dance track made from that recording by Tomorrowpeople.

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