Keith Sinclair was the outstanding New Zealand historian of his generation. He first came to prominence in 1957 with his original interpretation of the origins of the New Zealand wars, and followed this up two years later with his History of New Zealand, which for 30 years was the most popular survey of the country’s history. He then moved on to write influential biographies of politicians William Pember Reeves and Walter Nash. One of his last works, A destiny apart (1986), was a study of the development of New Zealand identity, which was a theme that had always been close to his heart. Sinclair was also a distinguished poet.
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