Reflections on the Big Smoke
- Date: Wednesday, 5 April, 2017
12.15pm to 1.00pm
Te Ahumairangi (ground floor), National Library, corner Molesworth and Aitken Streets
- Contact Details:
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Ben Schrader discusses his recent book on New Zealand cities
In this talk Ben Schrader offers some reflections on the writing of his recent book The Big Smoke: New Zealand Cities, 1840-1920 (Bridget Williams Books, Wellington, 2016).
Why did he write the book and how did he go about it? What were the challenges and rewards of writing a broad story in a narrowly researched field? He then reveals some of the most important findings from the project and suggests ways they increase our understanding of New Zealand’s past. Finally, he ponders how the work might shape future research. Might, for example, his focus on the lived experience of city dwellers suggest social history is making a long-awaited comeback?
These public history talks are a collaboration between the National Library of New Zealand and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Thanks to this partnership we’re able to record the talks and make them available online for anyone who misses out or who wants to listen again.
About the speaker
Big Smoke is on the short-list for this year’s Ockham New Zealand Book Awards in the general non-fiction section. Ben is also the author of We call it home: a history of state housing in New Zealand (Reed, 2005).
Ben Schrader, The Big Smoke: New Zealand Cities, 1840-1920 (Bridget Williams Books, Wellington, 2016).