Jul 7, 2014

Books by politicians: how to avoid the bargain bin

A flood of pollies have books coming out, from Julia Gillard to John Howard and Bob Day. We look at what makes for a good read in this tricky genre.

Cathy Alexander — Freelance journalist and PhD candidate in politics at the University of Melbourne

Cathy Alexander

Freelance journalist and PhD candidate in politics at the University of Melbourne

It seems a little unfair to the reading public that Paul Keating never wrote his memoirs, while Kevin Andrews has written a 483-page treatise on making marriage work.


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15 thoughts on “Books by politicians: how to avoid the bargain bin

  1. Di Keller

    There are a lot of things not to like about Mark Latham. but I love his honesty even when I disagree vehemently. And how right was he about so many things , in particular Kevin Rudd. I loved his elite school hit list !! We really should have listened to him.

  2. Electric Lardyland

    483 pages of Kevin Andrews!?? Not a terribly enticing proposition, when 4.83 seconds of Kevin has me reaching for the remote. Though I’m just a little bit surprised, that he didn’t hit on the innovative marketing scheme, where if you’re an Australian citizen and you’re having a bit of trouble with your marriage, then you should be able to get a government issued voucher to buy the book.
    And speaking of innovative marketing, I suspect that a sure fire way to increase the sales of Howard’s new tome, would be for chemists to sell copies as guaranteed insomnia cures. I mean, page after page, of the turgidly dull Howard writing about the Menzies era? Surely putting a heavy duty staple through a collection of train timetables, would make for a more entertaining read.

  3. Nomad

    Di – the school hit list has been around, in one form or another, for generations. Latham (and Macklin) only added venom and hate into the debate. Hardly a noble achievement.

  4. Di Keller

    @ Nomad. You missed out a very important word, ELITE. No, it hasn’t been around for generations because once upon a time they didn’t get subsidies. It was the greedy reactions to the hit list that gave us the venom and hatred. It was a great idea. !! 🙂

  5. AR

    Mad Mark’s Diaries is the only political tome I’ve ever read and, though fun, he could resist the self serving elision.

  6. AR

    ‘..could NOT resist’

  7. Di Keller

    @ AR Don’t expect miracles Haha!! He came across to me like a guy who had been raised in a family of females and spoilt rotten all his life. But he has a great brain . 🙂

  8. Di Keller

    I lent my copy of the Diaries to someone years ago and can’t remember who, so just bought another to remind myself what he said 🙂

  9. Electric Lardyland

    Actually, now that I think of it, I suppose that Howard wandering around regional airports promoting his book, would have been at the public’s expense, courtesy of his Gold Card?

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