Facing the Past

Bridget Williams Books

In her first book, A Small Price to Pay, Ann Beaglehole traced the experiences of European refugees to New Zealand in the 1930s. In Facing the Past she focuses on the lives of a younger generation – the children of those wartime immigrants, whose perceptions and experiences of both the old and the new world were very different from their parents'.

At school, in the neighbourhood, or on the sportsfield, many of them were painfully aware of being 'outsiders' in a society unused to cultural diversity. Yet their need to belong was frequently complicated by loyalty to the very different ideals and expectations of their parents. As one of them comments I was getting two messages... the 'always remember,' message and the 'start from now' message. Based on a wide range of interviews as well as documentary evidence from second-generation refugees worldwide, this is a fascinating account of the lives of immigrant children growing up in the decades between the 1940s and 1960s.