Ragnar Redbeard: the Antipodean origins of radical fabulist Arthur Desmond

Mark Derby


‘Like a great shining plow driven by superhuman forces, it goes tearing, ripping, swearing through the brains of men, remorselessly rooting up the evil idols and the false foundations. The ablest authors of our era it leaves far in the rear.’ — From Arthur Desmond’s publicity material for his 1896 book Might is Right.

SKU: 978-0-947493-52-3 Categories: , ,


“Mark Derby does justice to the spectacularly farflung radical and reactionary lives and the larger still legends of Arthur Desmond in the only way possible. He gives us a settler capable of siding with indigenous people and a muckraker on fire against wealth and privilege. But he equally shows a man, and eventually a persona, best known for his worst words, whose self-promotions and transnational bigotry remained connected to former commitments while tragically betraying them. This is a thoroughly engaging work of historical detection and discernment.”

— David Roediger, Professor of American Studies and History, University of Kansas

About the author

Mark Derby is a New Zealand writer and historian. His books include Kiwi Compañeros – New Zealand and the Spanish Civil War (Canterbury University Press, 2009).

Additional information

Dimensions 148 × 5 × 210 mm