Stories of an Era Not Yet So Very Remote: James Cowan in and out of New Zealand History
This essay provides a critical overview of James Cowan’s writings, his methods, and his publishing history—chiefly in New Zealand but also in Britain and Germany. Cowan was more of an anthologist than a synthesizer. His significance for popular historical consciousness lies in his small stories rather than his larger moral narrative of the New Zealand Wars and their implications for “race relations.” In his historical journalism, Cowan constantly reminded Pākehā that they did not live in a land without a past, and that the exciting colonial past was tantalizingly close.
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