Until this week I had a fear of history books. Remains to be Seen: Tracing Joe Hill's Ashes in New Zealand by Jared Davidson dispelled my fear with its stunning layout, exceptional readability and perfect length (85 pages). The book’s subtitle might be a little misleading, as the book takes us through events that seem to have produced no trace of Joe Hill's ashes in New Zealand whatsoever. The journey, however, is very informative, revealing sad truths about New Zealand's history and the origins of today's repressive state. If a history book should do anything it is to kindle an interest in the past. Davidson's book left me with inspiration to learn more of Joe Hill and dissenters during World War I, and therefore comes highly recommended. – Arthur Price.From the Labour History Project Newsletter #52.
From Mark Derby, Chair of the Labour History Project Inc. and author of Prophet and the Policeman.
Remains to Be Seen: Tracing Joe Hill's Ashes in New Zealand is a quite exceptional contribution to the scanty published literature on the history of the radical left in this country, and its importance far outweighs its modest size. Davidson's research is wide-ranging and very thorough, and has turned up a surprising number of primary documents which were unfamiliar to me and other historians who have been working in this field for a far longer period. This material has been assembled with flair, clarity and rigorous historical accuracy. Where conjectures and assumptions were made, they were identified as such and strongly supported by background evidence, including a number of telling international comparisons. The result is a minor triumph which has already made a considerable impact in this country and, I hope, will also be read overseas. —Mark Derby
Remains to be Seen: Tracing Joe Hill's Ashes in New Zealandis a stunning red, black, and white cover in lino-cut style. Its beautiful typeset pages tell of the afterlife of Hill, an early-20th-century Chicago unionist and songwriter. – Chris Brickell.From New Zealand Books, 21(96), Summer 2011.
The Wobblies were members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), an early 20th century socialist movement pressing for reform of workplace and society. Joe Hill was an American labourer and union leader, a Wobbly rescued from obscurity by the popularity of radical songs he wrote. he was elevated to martyrdom in 1915 and continues to be remembered in labour mythology after he was executed for murder (at Woodstock, Joan Baez sang the famous tribute song written about him). His body was cremated, the ashes placed in parcels, and sent to countries where the IWW was active, including New Zealand. Jared Davidson investigates what happened to the ashes sent to New Zealand. His search ends in conjuncture but the story is interesting, until it descends to a mixture of socialist polemic and 'expose' of governmental repression of socialists. – Mike Crean.From The Press.
Remains to be Seen is largely a historical account of the New Zealand state’s repression of militant labour during World War One... The book is an easy read and doesn’t require a great amount of prior knowledge about labour history on the part of the reader and would serve as a good introduction to anyone wanting to discover more about repression of dissent in New Zealand during the first world war. Some of the material may come as a shock to those unfamiliar with this history. – Byron Clark.From The Spark.