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Graham Hutchins

Publisher:Hachette New Zealand Ltd

Bad is an informative, entertaining account of some of New Zealand's most notorious, controversial and colourful citizens and the often-dastardly deeds that made them infamous. The book does not attempt to represent a complete list of such subjects, but consists of a selection of 'the best of the worst'. This allows for a deeper, more thorough examination of each subject, rather than a mere collection of short, potted histories. Accent is also placed on the formative years and childhoods of the subjects, aspects that often played a vital role in inciting often bizarre behaviours. Social settings prevalent in New Zealand at the time of the offending or coming to public attention are discussed. For example, the social setting at the turn of the twentieth century when the high numbers of unwanted children enabled Minnie Dean to run a 'baby farm' and dabble in infanticide. The murderous intent of Frederick Foster and Albert Black, both young men, is set against the turbulent years of the mid-1950s when teenage rebellion and the era of 'bodgies and widgies' emerged.Similarly the de-regulated financial environment of the mid-1980s led to a comparative glut of fraudsters and 'bubble boy' opportunists. Bad covers the historical gamut, from the early days of European settlement to the contemporary scene. It also ranges along the social spectrum, from corrupt early national treasurers to murderous loners on the bottom rungs.

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