Man of Secrets

Man of Secrets : The Private Life of Donald McLean

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Donald McLean. The hard-tempered Scot whose policies shaped New Zealand's colonial-age race relations, and gave rise to grievances that echo into the twenty-first century. The government official who used his position to get land for his personal ventures - and provoked war between Maori along the way. The man who, rumour insists, used his power as our Minister of Defence to order the shooting of his own illegitimate son - the right-hand man of religious leader Te Kooti. McLean's role as the powerhouse behind some of the most heated land controversies of settler-era New Zealand is well known. But the man behind those deeds has remained largely hidden. Man of Secrets, an absorbing new biography by Matthew Wright, goes behind the public persona, revealing the private Donald McLean. A man dogged by his upbringing, wrestling with his insecurities - a devout and fearful man who felt himself inadequate before God and who never recovered from the loss of his young wife.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 158 x 235 x 19mm | 350g
  • Penguin Books (NZ)
  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • 0143572210
  • 9780143572213
  • 2,232,590

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Review quote

'Matthew Wright is one of our most prolific social historians, an assiduous researcher and an engaging writer.' - Weekend Press
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About Matthew Wright

Matthew Wright has published books on many aspects of New Zealand, from the New Zealand Wars to colonial society and our twentieth century wars. His work has been recognised internationally, and he is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society at University College, London. Visit Matthew Wright online at and
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