In The Ring - A Commonwealth Memoir
Don McKinnon's memoir of his time as Secretary-General, In The Ring, does not disappoint. As I wrote here a few weeks ago when the book was released, this book is probably the most important book on the modern Commonwealth ever. I'm even more convinced of that now. Despite what the reviews say, (Audrey Young's review in The New Zealand Herald being one of the worst examples) the book has very little to do with the British monarchy or McKinnon's relationship with the Queen.
In the Ring actually re-enforces the side Commonwealth we don't see - the side beyond the link to New Zealand's "heritage". The organisation does great work for democracy, human rights and development.
You could be forgiven for thinking that it's just another talkfest or international junket for foreign ministers. Looking at (almost) all of the reviews of the book in New Zealand's news media, it's almost as if the media think the Commonwealth is the monarchy. Despite what the book reviews said and the questions the television journalists asked, McKinnon only discusses the British monarchy briefly in the second chapter of the book. The fact so much focus is put on one chapter of a thirteen chapter bookshows that the public perception of the organisation, especially in the "old Dominions," is that the Commonwealth is part of the monarchy and the two are intimately tied together. McKinnon makes this observation in the book a number of times, especially when recalling a meeting with the Queen Mother (who said to him he had to look after the "family"). He describes this as a "19th century" view of the Commonwealth. Sadly no journalist I've seen reviewing the book mentions this. This is particularly strange given how explosive it is.