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Alan Woods Book Talk
Alan Woods Book Talk

Mon, 07 Nov


Lawrence Library

Alan Woods Book Talk

Join Alan Woods in the library to discuss his book "Without the Nasty Bits : A True Account of a Soldier's Courage and Determination"

Time & Location

07 Nov 2022, 2:00 pm – 3:40 pm

Lawrence Library, 5 Peel Street, Lawrence 9532, New Zealand

About the event

Join Alan Woods in the library to discuss his book "Without  the Nasty Bits : A True Account of a Soldier's Courage and  Determination"


“Alan, one day I would like you to go to the places that I have  been and to see the things that I have seen but without the nasty bits.”  (Norman Woods)

Eighty years after World War Two, encouraged by his father’s  stories of survival and determination, a son travels to Poland to follow  his father’s experiences as a soldier and a Prisoner of War.

Without the Nasty Bits weaves Norman’s words with Alan’s journey in a story that brings the past to life.


In 1951 my family moved from Burnside in Dunedin to Lawrence. My  father was Norman Woods and he had been a soldier during World War Two  and a Prisoner of War. I was the oldest of the Woods children and as I  grew I listened intently to my father’s series of six WWII stories.  There were never any nasty bits in them and growing up it seemed to me  that nothing very serious had ever happened to my father during World  War II; little did I know.

I grew as all boys do, and when my schooling days ended I left  Lawrence to make my way in the world. In due course I married and raised  a family and often some of my father’s words about the Second World War  repeated in my mind; “Alan, someday I would like you to go where I have  been to see the things that I have seen, but without the nasty bits”.  In 2018 I fulfilled my father’s wishes and my dream; I travelled 19  thousand kilometres to follow my father’s footsteps to Poland and the  Prisoner Of War camp where he’d spent some of the closing days of World  War II in 1945. I saw some of the things he’d seen, and more.

In his later years Norman had recorded it all, from 1941 New  Zealand to 1945 in Poland and German, and all the bits in between. When I  returned from Europe I was able to hear his story again and write it  all down, and there were a few nasty bits. I wrote a book, Without the  Nasty Bits: A Soldier’s Story. It’s a combination of Norman’s actual  words and my account of following his footsteps, across Europe and back  again.

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