Sorrows of a Century

Interpreting Suicide in New Zealand, 1900–2000

Sorrows of a Century's cover
Hight res image

Print publication:

eBook publication:

Pages: 450

RRP: $59.99

ISBN: 9781927277232

ISTC: A022013000006284

DOI: 10.7810/9781927277232

Out of print – digital edition available through ebook retailers.

Focusing on New Zealand’s comprehensive and accessible coroners’ records, John Weaver analyses some twelve thousand cases to determine the social and cultural factors that contribute to suicide rates. He examines the official investigations into sudden deaths, placing them within the context of major events and societal changes. This remarkable assessment spans witness statements, suicide notes and medical records to provide new insights on prevention strategies.

A powerful and poignant analysis of the motives for suicide, set amidst the challenges of the twentieth century.

Co-published with McGill-Queen's University Press.

Available in paperback and ebook formats from booksellers and using the ‘Buy’ buttons on this page. For more information on these purchase options please visit our Sales FAQs page or contact us.

Please note that this title is available for New Zealand customers only. For international orders, please contact McGill-Queens University Press.


1 Long-Term Perspectives: Chronology, Gender, Life-Course, Ethnicity, and Method
2 Relationships: Sex, Alcohol, and Violence, 1900–80
3 Dark Days and Golden Weather: Despair and Work, 1900–80
4 Life Diminished: Illness and Trauma, 1900–2000
5 Mental Illnesses: Representation and Therapy, 1900–2000
6 The Youth Suicide Panic: Framing a Mental Health Crisis, 1988–96
7 What Is Happening to Our Children? Youth Suicides, 1980–2000
8 Decisions: Impulse and Reason in Historical Time, 1900–2000

Conclusion: History’s Patterns and Prevention’s Obstacles
Appendix One: Methodology
Appendix Two: Writing Style