The name Freyberg appears all across New Zealand, in streets, parks, schools, buildings, public spaces, pools and more.
For much of the 20th century Bernard Freyberg was a household name: a swimming champion, an action-hero, military commander and Governor-General —a physically imposing figure known to most Kiwis as ‘Tiny’, following his childhood nickname.
|Freyberg receiving support as he attempts to swim the English Channel|
Now in this new, concise biography, prolific author Matthew Wright reveals the complex man behind the myth for 21st-century readers less familiar with Freyberg — tracking his personal journey from lower middle-class Wellington to his death in London as Lieutenant General The Right Hon. Lord Freyberg.
|Bernard Freyberg with son Paul during the Allied advance in Italy, 1944|
Who was this man, who presented initially as innocent and vague, yet showed a sharp intellect to those who knew him? How much of his action-hero status came from an effort to validate himself?Why was he so ferociously private he did not even have a photographer at his own wedding? Why did he try to keep his 1914 adventures during the Mexico Revolution secret to the point of having his biographies censored?
Freyberg: A Life’s Journey is the most accessible and revealing Freyberg biography yet, with numerous photos.
Matthew Wright is one of New Zealand’s most published historians and writers. His work includes more than 600 articles, papers and reviews, and over 60 books on topics from biography to military and social history. His other Oratia books are The New Zealand Wars (2014) and The New Zealand Experience at Gallipoli and the Western Front (2017) (see matthewwright.net).