Monday, December 28, 2009

top books of the decade

The top book of the decade in the General Interest category we have already posted as being The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright.

In the general Pictorial Scenery category, Yann Arthus Bertrand's La Terre vue du ciel, or The Earth from Above as it was published in English, clearly stands out as the major work. It accompanied a series of programmes for French TV with the same title which is available on DVD. Like most landscape and nature photographers he is an active environmentalist and this is a strong theme in all his books and documentaries.

In the category of transport in other countries, we vote for Le Monde du Petit Train on the narrow gauge departmental railways of the Tarn. A meticulously produced book with great design, graphics, photographs, colour maps of everything, scale drawings in colour of front, side and rear elevations of of locomotives, railcars and rolling stock, stations, bridges, tunnels, and other buildings. And with 440 pages bound in hardback it is a substantial tome. It is the sort of book we would like to be able to produce if the market here was big enough to support the production budget required, but sadly it isn't.

In the category of books on New Zealand transport, other than those published by us, we vote for the 50th anniversary history of New Zealand's National Airways Corporation by Richard Waugh and his two assistant authors. Even though the printing standard wasn't quite as good as it could and should have been, it is a very solid reference work and pictorial history.

In the category of military history it is hard to go past Antony Beevor. His books on Stalingrad, D-Day and the Downfall of Berlin could all be picked, but as WW2 is a well published subject, we have decided instead to pick The Battle for Spain on the Spanish civil war of 1936-1939, simply because it is a subject that has received much less attention than it should have.

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