Thursday, March 12, 2015

As a Book Depository affiliate, I guarantee the lowest prices

This website will be the home of my publishing ventures. It is also a record of books I have bought from The Book Depository — easily the best online seller of books. As the above banner indicates, you get free postage as well as super-low prices. To find a book, use the searchbox below. To post a free classified ad on my AdBoard, click here. — Alan Ireland, Book Depository affiliate in Palmerston North, Aotearoa/New Zealand

I often think that New Zealand is like the Falkland Islands, writ large. Certainly, one does not have to go back far in history to find New Zealand cities looking like Stanley today.

Dunedin in 1858.

While Germany and France fight, Punch takes a ringside seat

As France went down to defeat in 1870, in the Franco-Prussian war, Punch was there to record its pain and humiliation — and also to poke fun at its vainglorious emperor, Louis Napoleon. In the history of the world, has a famous name ever promised so much and delivered so little? Never again would France be an empire — or a monarchy, for that matter. The caption to the political cartoon above quotes from the Marseillaise: "Aux armes, citoyens; formez vos bataillons!" evoking the spirit of the French Revolution of 1789, which led to the first French republic. But this time, the red flag of the Paris Commune, rather than the Tricolor, would later fly above the city's walls. To view a series of cartoons on the course of the war (taken from a bound volume of magazines), click here.

The Balkan Beast: Bulgaria in Punch cartoons, 1914-18

"Ferdie" waits with dagger drawn. From the
Punch cartoon of November 3, 1915.

The thug with the dagger is Ferdinand (1861-1948), who was czar of Bulgaria from 1908 to 1918, after being ruling prince from 1887 to 1908. In all the Punch cartoons, he personifies Bulgaria, and receives the treatment meted out to the enemies of Britain during World War I, being held up, alternately, to ridicule and righteous execration. He was, however, a grandnephew of Ernest I of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, and was chosen as prince of Bulgaria after the enforced abdication of Prince Alexander. In 1908, taking advantage of the Young Turk revolution in Constantinople and the annexation of nominally Ottoman Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria, Ferdinand proclaimed the full independence of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire and proclaimed himself czar. Having then gained Russia's favor, Ferdinand concluded (1912) an alliance with Serbia, which was later joined by Greece and Montenegro. The four allies then attacked the Ottomans, and were victorious in the first of the Balkan Wars (1912-13). But in the second Balkan War (1913) Bulgaria suffered a humiliating defeat by Serbia, Greece, Romania and the Ottomans. In the hope of recovering most of Macedonia, lost to Serbia and Greece by the Treaty of Bucharest (1913), Ferdinand in 1915 joined the Central Powers in World War I. In 1917 the tide of war turned against Bulgaria, and in 1918 Ferdinand was forced to abdicate.

The care of the infant: More marvels of modern technology

Left: Baby incubator:
"The purpose of an incubator is to maintain the temperature at a uniform level. In the form shown at left, gas is used as the heat-giver. A thermometer is placed at A, and the indicator, B, shows the right strength of gas flame. The asbestos bell-shaped cover, C, hanging at the end keeps swinging above the flame when the gas is the desired strength. The holes in the side of the case are for ventilation purposes." — from The Care of the Infant After Birth, in The Book of the Home, Volume IV.
Below: Baby feeding-bottle

For more Victorian and Edwardian advertisements, including Bovril advertisements, click here.

John Bull holds the door against women's rights activists, 1870

Of course, nice English ladies, pictured at far right, want nothing to do with these harridans. The cartoon is from Punch, which could always be relied upon to poke fun at any woman who stepped out of line.

Other features

Pukeko Press accepting poems for publication

  Early History of New Zealand, pub-
  lished in 1890: The source of the   pictures at the top of the page.

Any short poems — ideally of no more then eight short lines in length — will be considered for publication in the poetry column on the right. Submit your poem(s) by clicking on Comments at the end of this post. Alternatively, contact me via form mail.

Click here for a list of books that I have read, plus a brief excerpt from each. I have found that one of the best places to buy books, apart from the Book Depository, is the local library sale. Often, a recent publication that has had no borrowers will be offered for sale to the public for as little as $4.

With the closure of my site at, this site now incorporates