Speaking Truth to Power: Public Intellectuals Rethink New Zealand

Edited by Laurence Simmons


‘There are many other strong and insightful opinions in this book, along with rare outbreaks of intellectual passion – from Ian Wedde and Michael King, in particular.’ – Philip Matthews, NZ Listener


Eggheads . . . the chattering classes . . . the ivory tower . . . Speaking Truth to Power is a book about a contentious subject, intellectual life in today’s New Zealand. Organised around interviews with leading intellectuals, such as Jane Kelsey, Brian Easton, Marilyn Waring and the late Michael King, it is introduced by reflective essays by Roger Horrocks, Andrew Sharp, Stephen Turner and editor Laurence Simmons.

What is very clear is that however much ideas and thinking are the subject of public scorn, these people have a huge impact on the sort of country we live in and the way we treat each other. In their commitment to understanding and improving the social world they have faced hostility, incomprehension and rejection but their lives are rich, complex and dramatic as this book shows.

Speaking Truth to Power will annoy, excite, inspire and anger but it will get this topic into the open and make readers realise just how important public intellectuals are and how little they are recognised.



Laurence Simmons is an associate professor in Film, Television and Media Studies at the University of Auckland. He has published in the fields of post-structuralist theory, psychoanalytical theory, New Zealand film and television and post-war Italian cinema.


April 2007, 214 x 158 mm, 352 pages, illustrations
Paperback, ISBN 9781869403799, $49.99