Structured by decade, this anthology showcases some of the most memorable and well-loved books produced by the country's oldest publishing house, Reed Publishing. Historian Gavin McLean has poured over national archives, private collections and company documents to bring together extracts from nearly 100 publications - pamphlets, pictorials, fiction, general history, Maoritanga, poetry, sport, cookery, reference, the outdoors and more - to celebrate the diversity and phenomenal output of new New Zealand books by Reed, a tradition that continues into the twenty-first century. Barry Crump, Mona Anderson and James K. Baxter are now household names and they are joined in the anthology by other New Zealand writers for Reed such as Dennis Glover, Janet Frame, James Cowan, David McGill, Anne Salmond, Frank Sargeson, Mona Anderson, Witi Ihimaera, Bill Manhire, Allen Curnow, Fleur Adcock, Philip Holden, Peter Wells, Margaret Orbell, Bob Jones, Chris Pugsley, Paul Tapsell and many more. Each extract is contextualised with a biographical reference and most also feature the original cover jacket. Many other iconic book jackets are reproduced in black and white and colour.
Gavin McLean is based in Wellington as a senior historian for the Ministry of Culture and Heritage. Gavin has also written Whare Raupo, the 100-year company history of Reed Publishing in New Zealand, publishing in April 2007.