Man of Secrets: the private life of Donald McLean
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.”
The 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 way.

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.

256 pp 
ISBN 978-0-143-57221-3

Available in all good New Zealand bookstores, or buy online from Amazon.

Freyberg's War: The Man, the Legend, and Reality
Penguin, Auckland, 2005

"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 Wright". 
- Mark Taylor, The Southland Times, 20 April 2005. 

"This book shows scholarship, objectivity and humanity...[it] should become a standard work in New Zealand military circles" 
- Neil Frances, Wairarapa Times-Age, 14 April 2005. 

"...a painstaking and complete war biography of New Zealand's most famous soldier" 
- 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 monumental work."
- Warwick Roger, North and South, May 2005.

"This is an important book for the record. In it, Wright has effectively silenced the doubts about one of New Zealand's greatest". 
- 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 been misunderstood.

288 pp 
ISBN 0 14 301985 6

Print copies available direct from the author. 


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