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Harper, Glyn
Writer's File

Glyn Harper

Harper, Glyn
In brief

Glyn Harper is an academic and historian who specialises in the military history of the 20th century. He has written 34 books both for adults and children and authored over 60 other published pieces of writing including entries in encyclopedias and journal articles.


Harper, Glyn (1958- ) was born in Christchurch. In 1980 he gained a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Canterbury, and a diploma of teaching from Christchurch Teachers’ College. He then gained a Master of Arts (Hons. Class II) from the University of Canterbury, and his thesis studied the impacts of the fall of Singapore on Australia and New Zealand. In 1997 Harper gained his Doctor of Philosophy from the University of New England. His thesis examined the command abilities of Major General Howard Kippenberger.

From 1981- 1988 he worked as a secondary school teacher, then as an Australian Army Officer from 1988 to 1995, and a New Zealand Army Officer from 1996 to 2005. Since 2005, he has worked for Massey University and is currently a Professor of War Studies.

Harper co-authored Still the Same: Reflections on Active Service from Bardia to Baidoa (1996) with Garth Pratten. He then worked on the first of many books about World War I. These include Letters from the Battlefield (2001) and Massacre at Passchendaele (2000).

Also on the subject of World War One are Spring Offensive and the Second Battle of the Somme (2003), Dark Journey: Three Key Battles of the Western Front (2007), Images of War, World War One, A photographic record of New Zealanders at War 1914- 1918 (2008), Letters from Gallipoli (2011), Images of War: New Zealand and the First World War in Photographs (2013), Johnny Enzed. The New Zealand Soldier in the First World War (2015), and For King and Other Countries: The New Zealanders who fought in other services in the First World War (2019).

Harper has also written about World War Two, including the books Kippenberger: An Inspired New Zealand Commander (1997), The Battles of Monte Cassino: the Campaign and its Controversies, and The Battle for North Africa. El Alamein and the Turning Point for World War II (2017).

He focused on Victoria Cross Medals for In the Face of the Enemy: the complete history of the Victoria Cross and New Zealand (2006), Acts of Valour (2016), and the military in Born to Lead? Portraits of New Zealand Commanders (2003).

In addition, Harper has written over 10 children’s books including Mission to East Timor (2002), Le Quesnoy: The Story of the Town New Zealand Saved (2012), and Roly the Anzac Donkey (2015). All of these titles won a Storylines Notable Book Award in 2003, 2012, and 2016. He also authored My Grandfather’s War (2018) and Bobby: the littlest war hero (2018)

Harper was also the winner of the picture book category in the 2015 New Zealand Book Awards, and a finalist for the LIANZA Children’s Book awards for Jim’s Letters (2014).

In 2010, he was the recipient of a Fulbright Senior Scholarship. In 2012 he was awarded a Queen’s Service Medal for services to historical research.


Glyn Harper’s Massey University profile

Penguin Books profile

2017 feature on Stuff