The Great Wrong War. New Zealand Society in WWI

The First World War was by far the worst catastrophe in the history of twentieth-century New Zealand. The Great Wrong War asks why the country went to war, whether it could or should have pulled out after the first slaughter, and what may have been the true costs. Quick, vivid, democratic and questioning, the book probes social, political and emotional life in New Zealand during those murderous years. The sincerity and the malice, the stubbornness and the yearnings of warring New Zealanders are central to the story. Readers have been polarised by the book.

Deborah Montgomerie, Weekend Herald: ‘We have been put on trial and found wanting. We went to war for the wrong reasons and did bad things in war’s name.’

Gavin McLean, Listener: ‘Although Eldred-Grigg peppers his text with lively excerpts from letters and diaries, I wearied of the authorial bias.’

Graham Adams, Metro: ‘Eldred-Grigg writes with authority and verve.’

Nicholas Reid, Sunday Star-Times: ‘shouts, shrieks and bellows … Eldred-Grigg would have us believe that Germany bore virtually no responsibility for the war at all.’

Bookiemonster, ‘The Great Wrong War has brought up a lot of questions for me about the present – the growing nationalist fervour around Anzac Day, the pervasive myth that we were fighting a “just” war in WW1, the ideas of “sacrifice” and the encroachment upon civil and individual rights in the name of political expediency in a crisis. Packed with illustrations, it’s also a beautiful object of a book.’

Random House, Auckland 2010
ISBN 978 1 86979 263 3