Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Park is one of New Zealand’s greatest military leaders. Murray Rowland’s thoughtful biography, Air Marshal Sir Keith Park, will introduce a new generation of readers to an outstanding commander who played an absolutely central role in winning the Battle of Britain in 1940.

This biography contains significant new information and insights into both Park’s professional career and his personal life. He was a remarkably self-contained man with great reserves of inner strength and willpower. These traits helped him through professional crises as well as personal tragedies.

Keith Park was a very modern commander who fully appreciated how all elements of an armed force must work effectively together to produce optimal outcomes. Throughout his military career, which saw him leave New Zealand in 1915 as a Corporal in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force and return in 1948 as a much decorated retired Air Chief Marshal, Park remained an undemonstrative, modest man who led by example. He respected all those with ability, loyalty and a willingness to work hard. He had, however, no time for the lax or incompetent; especially those who failed the men and women under their command. Park was, as Murray Rowland points out, at his best in war. In crisis after crisis during the Second World War he displayed leadership of the highest order. Keith Park had a great ability to analyse complex problems and then work out and implement successful responses.

During the Second World War few individuals did more than Sir Keith Park to defend and uphold the values of freedom and justice that lie at the heart of the national psyche of both the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Murray Rowland’s Air Marshal Sir Keith Park makes this clear and sets out the debt we owe him.

Kevin Short

Air Marshal

Chief of Defence Force

Wellington

NEW ZEALAND

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