The New Zealand Wars and the Pioneering Period (two volume set) - James Cowan
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This history of the New Zealand Wars is the late James Cowan's greatest work. Brought up on the old Waipa frontier soon after the close of the wars, when an uneasy peace existed between European and Māori, he imbibed much ancient lore as well as recent history from old-time Māori chiefs and warriors, and from them as well as from the European settlers he gathered many a tale of heroism and endurance.
These boyhood experiences were of great value to him when he was commissioned by the Government to write this history; for he not only examined a vast amount of written material - he also sought out the remaining veterans of the wars (both European and Māori, women as well as men) and from them learned at first hand much that never appears in official documents; and he tramped many a mile to view the scenes of engagements, that he might render a faithful account of what happened.
The resulting history is not a dry-as-dust account of policies and battles; it is a living history of brave men and women who fought for what each side believed to be right.
At the time Cowan wrote - almost half a century after the last shots were fired - the passions engendered by the conflict of interests and the loss of life had had time to burn out and a sound appraisal of motives and actions could be made. He not only records the course of the fighting and the outcomes of the various battles, but also presents a fascinating account of frontier life in New Zealand.
This reissue is in response to a persistent public demand, and although it is sixty years since the history was first written, the text has not been edited in any way, being left just as Cowan wrote it.
This edition contains a new and perceptive introduction by Michael King who looks at Cowan and his writing in the context of his times.
Another addition is the inclusion of a comprehensive index replacing the modest one which appeared in earlier editions.
This is the 1983 two volume reprint with amendments. Being sold as a set
Condition: two volume hardback set in excellent condition. Some tearing to one dust jacket with a repair in place and some minor wear to edges of dust jackets.