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  • Published: 5 August 2011
  • ISBN: 9781869797034
  • Imprint: Random House NZ
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 544
  • RRP: $45.00
Categories:

Diggers, Hatters & Whores

The Story of the New Zealand Gold Rushes




The paperback edition of this beautifully illustrated and accessibly written history, both critically and commercially acclaimed

In May 2003 the body of nineteen-year-old Jessica Kate Williams was found by a railway track in Portland Oregon: beaten, broken and horribly burnt. But the terrible chain of events that led to her death had been put in place almost a decade before.

James Daniel Nelson first hit the streets as a teenager in 1992, joining a clutch of runaways and misfits who camped out together in a squat under a Portland bridge. Within a few months the group – they called themselves a ‘family’ – was arrested for a string of violent murders. While Nelson sat in prison, the society he had helped form grew into a phenomenon. Street families spread to every city in America from New York to San Francisco, and to many small towns in between, bringing violence with them. In 2003, almost eleven years after his original murder, Nelson, now called ‘Thantos’, got out of prison, returned to Portland, created a new street family, and was ready to kill again.

In this dark and compelling portrait of one of America’s most frightening sub-cultures, Rene Denfeld draws on material gathered over a decade spent with the ‘families’, revealing the extremes to which desperate teenagers (the majority of whom hail from loving middle-class homes) will go in their search for a sense of a belonging.

  • Published: 5 August 2011
  • ISBN: 9781869797034
  • Imprint: Random House NZ
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 544
  • RRP: $45.00
Categories:

About the author

Stevan Eldred-Grigg

Stevan Eldred-Grigg is a novelist, short story writer, essayist, biographer and historian, who has been lauded as ‘a natural story-teller’ (Metro). Born by mistake in the Grey Valley, New Zealand, in 1952, he grew up and was educated in Canterbury, New Zealand, and Canberra, Australia. He gained an MA in History from the University of Canterbury, and then obtained a PhD at the Australian National University in Canberra.

Few contemporary New Zealand or Australian novelists have written about subjects so varied and challenging – and in such a variety of genres and styles. A key focus in his writing has been on class and on his home region of Canterbury. His first novel, Oracles and Miracles, was published in New Zealand in 1987 and won second place in the 1988 Goodman Fielder Wattie Book Awards. It was subsequently adapted for stage and radio, and was also the first major novel by a living New Zealand writer to be published in China - the Chinese translation being published under the title Sheng Xian Qi Ji. This was followed by a number of other novels, including the riveting Shanghai Boy and Bangs, the fourth book in what has become a family saga over three generations, beginning with Oracles and Miraclesand continuing in The Shining City and Mum. In 2019, he won the Janet Frame Literary Trust Award.

As a historian he has been described as ‘smart, sensitive to his subjects, and prepared to tell the stories other historians neglect’ (Wanganui Chronicle). His histories include Diggers, Hatters & Whores: The Story of the New Zealand Gold Rushes, which won the Hachette NZ Award for Best Non-Illustrated Book at the PANZ Book Design Awards 2009,and The Great Wrong War (a controversial social history of the experience of World War One in New Zealand), which won the Hachette NZ Award for Best Illustrated Book at the PANZ Book Design Awards 2011. He won a Copyright Licensing Limited scholarship to write Diggers, Hatters and Whores.

Eldred-Grigg has lived in Mexico City, Iowa City, Berlin, Shanghai and Beijing. He is currently based in Wellington. He has three grown sons. See www.eldred-grigg.com

Also by Stevan Eldred-Grigg

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Awards & recognition

PANZ Book Design Awards

Winner  •  2009  •  Hachette New Zealand Award for Best Non-Illustrated Book

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