Monday, October 26, 2009

Book on great New Zealand engineering

It is rare for a book on technology in New Zealand to sell out promptly and require reprinting within weeks, but this book is one such case. It is essentially a book - in landscape A4 format - of pictures of bridges, dams, viaducts, notable buildings, locomotives, industrial installations and the like, with brief information on the topic on the facing page. We have been critical of picture books, however, given the subject one can only applaud Random House for taking the punt.

Matthew Wright is a well known "author for hire" and researches non-ficton subjects for the larger publishing houses. He is not noted for accuracy, however, and the first double-page spread this writer got upon opening the book at random (no pun intended) was pages 72-73 for which the caption says the photo was taken at "Cross Creek, the bottom of the [Rimutaka] Incline". If Mr Wright had used The Railways of New Zealand: a journey through history as one of his reference sources, he would have known that it was taken at Summit, the top of the Incline.
The full page photo treatment is welcome, in contrast to the treatment that some publishers like of cramming as many pictures as possible into pages. Reproduction quality is good, but unfortunately all in monochrome despite some photos being available in colour.

The book costs $45 at the transpress shop.

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