The connection between a colony and its founder, centre and margin, is always paradoxical. Where once Britain sent colonists out into the world, now the descendants of those colonists return to interrogate the centre.
This is a book about four of these returners: Harold Williams, journalist, linguist, Foreign Editor of The Times; Ronald Syme, spy, libertarian, historian of ancient Rome; John Platts-Mills, radical lawyer and political activist; and Joseph Burney Trapp, librarian, scholar and protector of culture.
These were men, born in remote New Zealand, who achieved fame in Europe – even as they were lost sight of at home. Men who became, from the point of view of their country of origin, expatriates.
A writer of penetrating insight, Martin Edmond explores the intersections of past and present in the lives of these four extraordinary individuals. Their stories combine, in the hands of this award-winning writer, to a moving reflection upon New Zealand’s place in the world, then and now.