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The intention of the Government to publish a historical record of New Zealand's share in the war will be universally approved. The literature of the war is already voluminous. Much of it v ill prove ephemeral, but from the mass of publication a great deal of value can be extracted and incorporated in the histories of the war which will be handed down from generation to generation. So far New Zealand has produced singularly few war books, but its Expeditionary Eorce has made history as stirring and as glorious as any army in the field. To us the actions in which New Zealanders are engaged are more intimate and more moving than any others, because the men concerned are our own flesh anil blood, our own neighbours, our fellow-countrymen. The collection and publication of a lasting record of the noble deeds of our own men is not only commendable ; it is a duty we owe to the future hardly less imperative than the more immediate obligation to bear our share with the other free nations in the fight against military oppression. The present purpose of the Minister for Defence is apparently to gather material, with a view eventually to the compilation of a popular history of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. The production of the volume may well wait until the work of the soldiers has been finished, and we have entered upon a new and happier epoch. Only then can the record be made complete, and until then it would be hopeless to attempt a history worthy of a permanent place in the literature of New Zealand. The war in all its general aspects will be treated historically in every known language and from all possible points of view. What the NewZealand Government should aim at is to hand down to those who in future years will come to call this country their own, their native land a true appreciation of what New Zealanders did in the momentous years when the fate of civilisation was in the balance. Military achievement should have its place, but the spirit of the soldier and the spirit of the nation, which made these achievements possible, should fill pages that will become invaluable as the years pass. The history should tell not only what New Zealanders did, but why they did it. Much depends on how the work is done. Tt may be made fit only for official pigeon-holes or it may be made a X'ew Zealand classic. Judging from his letter, published to-day. Sir James Allen contemplates a book that will touch the human heart and stimulate love of country. It is to be hoped that the effort will meet all the success the subject deserves.

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Bibliographic details

NEW ZEALAND WAR HISTORY, New Zealand Herald, Volume LV, Issue 16872, 10 June 1918

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NEW ZEALAND WAR HISTORY New Zealand Herald, Volume LV, Issue 16872, 10 June 1918