The conservative Dominion Post newspaper commissioned the rightwing National Party activist David Farrar (of Kiwiblog) to review Chris Trotter's leftwing No Left Turn history, and the result is an almost ecstatic endorsement of the book, with Farrar proclaiming that it's a book that 'any student of politics or history should read', and that it's 'one of those books which you find hard to put down'. [Read more below]
David Farrar's positive review is not available on the Stuff website, but you can read a copy here, on Farrar's own Kiwiblog. In it you'll find a few other statements of praise for Trotter and his book, such as: 'you can not help but enjoy the story he tells', and that he's 'such a good writer and first class columnist'.
This seemingly-odd rightwing praise for a leftwing story is obviously partly explained by the Farrar's appreciation for all things political, regardless of - or perhaps because of - their strong ideological stance. Farrar isn't afraid to disagree with Trotter's political interpretations in No Left Turn, nor of Trotter's apparent 'great lament' for the socialist project unfulfilled in New Zealand. But he seems to appreciate that Trotter isn't a standard historian, and therefore No Left Turn is 'no dispassionate scholarly book'. Farrar says that Trotter's 'passion and subjectivity' actually help bring the book to life.
Like other reviewers, Farrar spends much of their time discussing Trotter's interpretation (or defence) of the First Labour Government. The 'forces of the left have never given true socialism a chance' is the reviewer's paraphrasing of this section, which Farrar obviously feels relieved about, as it would have failed 'in New Zealand as miserably as it has in every other country which has tried it'.