By Crikey reporter Lucy Morieson
With media coverage of The Latham Diaries at saturation point, another book picking apart the ALP’s time in opposition is about to hit shelves. You might have noticed extracts from Fairfax journalist Annabel Crabb’s new book, Losing It, to be released by Picador on Wednesday.
And while the timing was certainly fortuitous for her employers, Crabb says the book’s release was not planned to coincide with The Latham Diaries. In fact, Crabb wasn’t aware of the existence of Latham’s memoirs until her book was already in progress, and a number of publishing hiccups delayed the original release date, she says, making it ” just one of those blessed coincidences.”
Losing It is not a book about Latham, says Crabb – rather, it’s a “warts and all” history of Labor’s time in opposition. But it ends with Latham’s resignation, and his time as leader clearly becomes “one of the most controversial parts of that history.”
Crabb says she interviewed hundreds of ALP figures for the book, with one notable exception – M Latham – who she says was the “only recent leader who didn’t cooperate.” It was clear he was interested in telling his story his own way, she says – “and my God, he did.”
As her employer, Fairfax always had “first dibs” on any extracts from the book, but it “wasn’t a planned assault” on the Latham Diaries. Had the book been released by Cambridge University Press, who commissioned Crabb to write it in the first place, the story may have been different. But Cambridge and Crabb had a “parting of ways” after the publisher felt that some of the content didn’t “fit their profile” as a university publisher. Interesting, given that Melbourne University Press was prepared to release Latham’s account, which Crabb says is far more colourful.