Book reviews: April 2021

By: Steve Atkinson

The DOW team reviews some of the latest books to hit the bookshelves

Wild Seas to Greenland
Rebecca Hayter
Oceanspirit Publishing














If you thought sailing was all about sipping cocktails and sunny vistas, then consider a thought for the real die-hards who take on the challenge of heading to Greenland. The author climbs aboard with ex-professional ocean racing skipper Ross Field as he attempts to take on the Northwest Passage.

But before all that starts, we go over the purchase and fitting out of the right vessel for the anticipated ice strewn journey. While that’s a great story in itself, the sailing in Arctic regions and insight into Greenland itself help deliver a well-balanced​​ read.

Additionally, the author shares excerpts from her father’s book Sheila in the Wind, following his single-handed sail from the UK to New Zealand in the 1950s. An ideal read for any want-to-be adventurer.

The Wellington Street Races
Richard McGee
Bateman Books









This well-researched book details the popular street races around the Wellington waterfront for an 11-year period from 1985 to 1996. While, as expected, there’s a heavy focus on the racing along with the winners and losers, the real interesting part is around the organisation of the events.

Here it gives an insight into the 1980s when nothing seemed to be impossible to private enterprise and local bodies alike. Sadly, I’d be surprised if anything like this ever gets past the fun police ever again, so it’s great to experience those days once again through this book. It’s one that should be in any motorhead’s collection.

Gas Pedal to Back-Pedal
Keith Mexsom
Fantail Communications














If you thought the author’s 2016 prequel of Waka Paddle to Gas Pedal was a heavy read, then the almost doubled offering of his latest Gas Pedal to Back Pedal will seriously make you consider if reading about the history of Auckland’s transportation systems was really that high up your bucket list.

For me, I thought it would be, but after struggling through the first book, I thought it best to leave it to the experts and academics. If Auckland transport is your thing, however, then definitely get your hands on a copy.

It’s well-researched (perhaps even over-researched) and pretty much tells us what we already know; inept people often reach positions of power.

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