Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Controversial book argues NZ should not have fought in WW2

Controversial book argues New Zealand should not have fought in World War Two

Phoney Wars: New Zealand Society in the Second World War, a new book from Stevan Eldred-Grigg, argues that we had no business going to war against either Germany in 1939 or Japan in 1941. Our motives for doing so were muddled and contradictory. Also we were never in danger of being bombed by any ‘enemy’ air force or invaded by any ‘enemy’ army.

Eldred-Grigg questions the war as a story of ‘good’ against ‘bad.’ Everyone knows the Axis powers behaved ruthlessly, but how many are aware of the brutality of the Allied powers in bombing and starving not only Axis but even Allied peoples? New Zealand colluded in and helped carry out such brutal aggressions. Were we, in going to war, really on the side of the angels?

The author’s previous book, The Great Wrong War: New Zealand Society in World War I (2010), polarised readers, with its author accused by some of betraying his country, while others congratulated him for setting the record straight.

‘Ultimately there was no compelling reason for New Zealand to involve itself in the war … All military effort by the dominion was more or less meaningless. New Zealand could have enjoyed the blessings of its safety without going onto a gruelling and wasteful war footing.’

Nearly eighty years on, the reasons for New Zealand going to war need to be interrogated closely. Was it in the best interests of the people of New Zealand?

Stevan Eldred-Grigg is a leading novelist and historian. His first novel, Oracles and Miracles, was a runaway bestseller. He is the author of many other books, fiction and non-fiction, among them Diggers, Hatters and Whores: The story of the New Zealand gold rushes (2008), and White Ghosts, Yellow Peril: China and New Zealand, 1790–1950 (2014). Two earlier books focused on the world wars. Kaput! (2000) is a novel that tells the story of an ordinary German housewife and mother coping with Nazi dictatorship and Allied bombing. His previous book The Great Wrong War: New Zealand society in World War I (2010) polarised readers with its trenchant criticisms. He now turns his uncompromising gaze on WWII.

Phoney Wars : New Zealand society in the Second World War
By Stevan Eldred–Grigg with Hugh Eldred-Grigg

Release Date: October 2017
ISBN 978-0-947522-23-0

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Five Hidden Los Angeles Treasures (Part I)

The immense cultural diversity of LA provides an extraordinary variety of lifestyles and architecture. Here are five 'hidden' destinations where the discerning traveller can appreciate and enjoy this unique and constantly evolving metropolis. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Parenting, Warts And All

If you’re looking for a parenting book that spouts generic pearls about parenting and classifies every part of it into sections as if raising children is a clear-cut job, this is not it. More>>

City Of 100 Lovers: Multi-Million Dollar NZ Theatre Production To Launch

Produced in New Zealand with an $8 million budget, this musical comedy has been created with both locals and tourists in mind. More>>

Howard Davis Review: The Outsider Art of Tony Fomison

Among such gifted contemporaries as Bill Hammond, Tony de la Tour, and printmaker Jason Grieg, Fomison distinguished himself as highly idiosyncratic, and could have become wealthy, had not his demons prevented him from investing his income wisely. In his near monochrome oil painting on black hessian, he staked out a territory of morbid originality. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland