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A.H. and A.W. Reed, Wellington, 1984. Hardback with dust jacket. 303 pages.

The book offers a delightfully fresh analysis of the combination of Christian and non-religious strands in New Zealand social life. It reveals the astonishing doctoring of drugs, from morphine to tea, by capitalist and quack alike, and it gives us throughout a provocative insight into the sexual and drug taking practices that many might prefer to ignore.

Colonial society was easygoing, fond of sex and drugs, according to many travellers and other observers of nineteenth century New Zealand. Yet later generations have looked back at their forebears as dour folk who denied their bodies and crippled their souls with a stern puritanism. What were the real habits and beliefs of the colonists when they partook of ‘pleasures of the flesh’? This book is the most thorough exploration yet published of the way people made love or made money from their sexuality, made themselves happy or sick with alcohol and other drugs, in colonial New Zealand.

Lloyd Jones: ‘From Eldred-Grigg’s commendable research … Puritanism is seen to be a rather impotent force as alcohol, drugs and prostitution were virtually allowed a free reign.’

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  • Seller location: Wellington City, Wellington, NZ

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