Home » August 2017 »Regular Features » Currently Reading:

Book review – Breaking ranks

August 7, 2017 August 2017, Regular Features No Comments

Book review

Breaking Ranks is James McNeish’s final book, the manuscript being completed shortly before he died. This is an unusual book as it has three distinct stories, each of a New Zealander of a different time in the twentieth century. The connection being that each stuck out for what the believed to be right regardless of the considerable political and bureaucratic powers lined up against them.

The first is of Dr John Saxby who revolutionised New Zealand psychiatry. In the 1930s he set about transforming the psychiatric hospital he was given charge of introducing humane and world class mental health treatments.

Brigadier Reginald Miles was a highly regarded soldier in the early North African campaign. In 1941 his men were ordered to defend a rear guard action against an overwhelming German force. Against orders he left his command post to go forward to fight, and probably die, with his outnumbered men.

Justice Peter Mahon was chosen by P.M. Muldoon to head the Erebus inquiry, Muldoon having been assured that he would be a soft judge who would do as requested and not delve too far into the facts. Muldoon had been poorly advised and Justice Mahon’s report is now famous for his ‘an orchestrated litany of lies’ statement.

In each case the men were hounded by their superiors who were intent in keeping their systems and own situations intact. As a result in each case the man were eventually destroyed.

As can be expected of James McNeish a fascinating, well researched and well written book. This is obviously not light reading, but is interesting and certainly thought provoking. A well worth while read.

Mike Beckett

Comment on this Article:



The season is over for the Premier and Senior Reserve teams, and what a season it was! Our Premier team made it to the Tui Cup Final, our first final in 24 year years…the last time we won was 26 years ago! Unfortunately it was not to be the fairy …

Junior Sport

U13 Boys Hockey The 2017 Wairarapa U13 Hatch Cup representative hockey team performed well at its first mini tournament in Stratford on the 12 and 13 August, securing wins over Manawatu, Wanganui and Horowhenua. The team is well represented by the South Wairarapa this year with Jarrod Yee, Hamish Kill, …


Two down and one to go, we are on the home straight with the season of Winter and for the first time in many years the dams and tanks are fill and the water tables have well and truly reached above the ground. you guessed, we’re ready for Spring! The …

Regular Features

Cooking Corner

Stir fry chicken noodles Ingredients 250 g 
dried egg noodles 25 ml 
vegetable oil 3 eggs …

Waihinga Centre

____________________________________________ A White Square on a White Field One of Mondrian’s most famous paintings, “A …

Know your town

Martinborough Picture Theatre 1913 – 1964 The first movie theatre proprietors were Garland and Stewart …

Library news

Welcome to Summer! What a welcome sight and feel all that sunshine is after the …

Fire Brigade

The amalgamation of the NZ Fire Service with 39 rural fire authorities on the 1st …

Waihinga Centre

Open to Change If you are just walking or driving past the Town Hall it …

News from First Church

We are pleased we decided to hold our weekly meetings during July and August in …

Recent Comments