of Secrets: the private life of Donald
Penguin, Auckland, 2015
“I loved this
book. It really does grip you and want
you to keep turning the pages... a
vibrant study of a very well lived life
that is just as, if not more gripping
and exciting than a fictional thriller.
Wright is in my opinion the best New
Zealand historian writing today.”
Library, February 2015.
Donald McLean. The hard-tempered Scot
whose policies shaped our colonial-age
race relations and gave rise to
grievances that echo into the
twenty-first century. The government
official who used his position to get
land for his personal ventures – and
provoked war between Maori along the
The man who, rumour insisted, used his
power as New Zealand’s Minister of
Defence to order the shooting of his own
illegitimate son – the right-hand man of
terror leader Te Kooti.
Donald McLean’s public life as the
power-house behind some of the dodgiest
land controversies of the settler age is
well known. But the man behind those
deeds has remained largely hidden.
Man of Secrets, a new biography by
Matthew Wright, delves into the man
behind the public image – the private
Donald McLean. This is the story of one
man’s emotional roller-coaster ride,
dogged by his up-bringing, wrestling
with his insecurities – a devout and
fearful man who felt himself inadequate
before God and who never recovered from
the loss of his young wife.
in all good New Zealand bookstores,
or buy online from Amazon.
War: The Man, the Legend, and Reality
"If anyone is best equipped to pen a
definitive study of one of, if not the,
greatest military leader in New
Zealand's history, it would be Matthew
- Mark Taylor, The Southland Times,
20 April 2005.
"This book shows scholarship,
objectivity and humanity...[it] should
become a standard work in New Zealand
- Neil Frances, Wairarapa Times-Age,
14 April 2005.
"...a painstaking and complete war
biography of New Zealand's most famous
- Greg Dixon, Weekend Herald,
Canvas, 16 April 2005.
"Matthew Wright attempts to give a
fuller picture of the man who led New
Zealand troops...He succeeds. It is a
- Warwick Roger, North and South,
"This is an important book for the
record. In it, Wright has effectively
silenced the doubts about one of New
- Jim Callaghan, Wanganui Chronicle,
2 July 2005.
This book will change the way you see
one of New Zealand's best known historic
figures. Lieutenant-General Sir Bernard
Freyberg led the New Zealand
Expeditionary Force from 1939 to 1945.
He became a national hero, exalted by a
generation and upheld as one who could
do no wrong. Some historians have
challenged that view, finding fault in
Freyberg's handling of the Battle for
Crete and blaming him for the
destruction of the Benedictine monastery
above Cassino in 1944. But are they
right? In Freyberg's War, Matthew Wright
draws on a wide range of documents,
including British and New Zealand
letters published for the first time in
this book, to look at Freyberg's war
from Freyberg's own perspective, and so
cast new light on some of the crucial
questions about Freyberg's War. Who was
really behind Freyberg's appointment to
command in 1939? What can we say about
his performance on Crete in 1941? What
did he intend in Cassino? What did
Middle East Command really think of him?
Wright paints a scholarly, vivid picture
of man and commander, revealing Freyberg
to be a complex, multi-dimensional
leader whose approach to the war has
ISBN 0 14 301985 6
copies available direct
from the author.