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No. 40 (September 1962)
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The Pitcher And The Well
Paul's Book Arcade, 15/-

‘In the beginning there was a very small boy and a very big river. A poverty-stricken home in a small, drab New Zealand town. It rained endlessly … of course I knew no other place, so at the time it seemed a pleasant enough home town. It was home, you see.’

This is the anonymous autobiography of a New Zealand airman. He wrote it during the last war while he was lying in a German prison hospital suffering from injuries from which he eventually died. It is written in the form of letters to a friend in New Zealand, but this is really only a way of giving his book a convenient framework; perhaps all autobiographies are best written either as letters or in the form of a diary.

The slightly pompous introductory blurb says that ‘the author found in his job as navigator of a British bomber a life more satisfactory than he managed to find in peace-time. He hadn't done very well either as a careerist or as a man. In war he found a more creditable sense of achievement …’

He was a brilliant navigator, and his accounts of his war experiences are very vivid and exciting. ‘The Pitcher And The Well’ is certainly, as has been said, one the best of all war books.

In my opinion, though, the most notable thing about this book is that it is the first really mature autobiography written by a New Zealander. The self-portrait that he presents is a very frank one, and in many respects it is far from flattering. But this is clearly due more to a most unusual self-knowledge and honesty, to a tough intelligence and to adult emotions, than to any very remarkable iniquity on his part.

Any good autobiography tells us something new about ourselves; a good autobiography by a New Zealander tells us more than most.

If you once start this book, I'm fairly sure you'll be hypnotised into reading every word of it.

Native Trees

This is another addition to Reed's very useful ‘Nature in New Zealand’ series. Like the rest, it has clear, attractive illustrations, is simply written by an expert, and is most inexpensive.

Sixty-nine trees are illustrated and described; these are selected ‘for their usefulness, beauty, curiosity or abundance’.

Anyone with an interest in trees will find it invaluable, especially since it fits into a pocket so easily. —M.O.

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and working plans

In any business correct planning is important, and never more than for a long term enterprise. But when it deals with assets of the magnitude of New Zealand's forests, a well-considered plan is a first essential. The New Zealand Forest Service, for each forest under its care, prepares a Working Plan. It prescribes every operation for the life of the forest. And while it provides for continuity of management, it can be revised to incorporate new methods and techniques. The Forest Service maintains constant research to secure maximum yields per acre, a maximum use of wood from thinnings, and a maximum financial return. As with any other business, the management of timber crops is expected to be prudent and profitable. And this is the task of the New Zealand Forest Service.

Forestry is forever

Issued in the interest of forest protection by The New Zealand Forest Service.