The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 7 (October 2, 1939)
“Brave Days” is an all-New Zealand production” written by women, about women for women” and published by Messrs. A. H. & A. W. Reed. This is the story of the pioneer women of the Dominion written by women from all parts of the Dominion. And most interesting reading it makes. The opening chapter by N. A. R. Barrer gives a graphic picture of early-time journeys to New Zealand in emigrant ships. We read of one mother who died from exhaustion “consequent on ninety days’ severe seasickness.” Then the following brief note to his principals from one shipmaster: “I'm happy to inform you of the safe arrival here of the Slains Castle—all well—having only lost four infants under twelve months, and having five births.” This chapter is just an indication of the trials and tribulations met with by our pioneers. This is a most interesting record, all the more engrossing because of the many writers who contribute and the host of letters and records quoted from. The story commences at Auckland where the earliest settlers landed and is carried on from there to Wellington and other towns and provinces of the North Island. South Island women then continue the narrative from Nelson to Southland. This composite historical effort owes its origin to the Women's Division of the New Zealand Farmers’ Union, publication being made possible through the generosity of Mrs. Allen Bell. It is fitting, therefore, that the book should open with “an appreciation” of Mrs. Bell and her work.
The volume is well illustrated, and sells at the modest price of 4/6.
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“My New Zealand” by A. J. Harrop (Jarrolds, London) is an admirable survey of the Dominion as it is to-day. An extensive field is covered by Dr. Harrop in this book even to including a few chapters on our early history. With that practised pen of his the author writes in an effortless and interesting manner and without any verbal affectation. In his comment on things political it is evident that he is careful to preserve an even balance. The book is full of restrained and well-balanced comment and statement of fact. It is really an excellent handbook for anybody wishing to become acquainted with the Dominion and, of course, intensely interesting to those who, like the author himself, are proud to acknowledge the Dominion as the land of their birth.
The book is beautifully illustrated.
“Pioneers on Parade” by Miles Franklin and Dymphna Cusack (Angus & Robertson, Sydney) is something startlingly new in Australian fiction. Yet, there is not so much fiction about it, for the whole story is built on the recent Sesqui-Centenary celebrations in New South Wales and although the characters are imaginary they are obviously built on types. Satire is the weapon used to tilt at high society; the home product and that imported for the big event. It is a very daring piece of work but, if those of whom it makes fun, take its lessons to heart, some good may result. The Australian social climber is depicted with comparatively good humour, but the acid is undiluted in the etching of other samples.