Political Lives is an intimate history of image-making and image-breaking in national politics.
In 2011, Chris Wallace was writing a biography of Julia Gillard. After seeing the unparalleled onslaught from the Abbott opposition, she cancelled her contract and repaid her advance with the awareness of how hard the biography could hit. Political Lives is a result of that fraught experience. In it Wallace reflects on the roles and motives of biographers and their biographies in the 20th century.
To discover who wrote biographies, and why, Wallace interviewed every living 20th century prime minister and their biographer, from Menzies to Hawke, Whitlam to Keating. The result is an intimate history of Australian national politics.
Political historian Dr Chris Wallace is a professor at the Faculty of Business Government and Law, University of Canberra. Her previous book, How To Win An Election (NewSouth, 2020), drew important lessons for Labor from its shock 2019 election loss against the backdrop of the last half century of Australian federal elections. Wallace was formerly a longstanding member of the Canberra Press Gallery, and her political analysis and commentary currently appears in Nikkei Asia, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Saturday Paper and The Conversation. Twitter: @c_s_wallace
Table of Contents
Preface Wait. What?
1 Absent fathers
2 The Great War to the Great Depression
3 Menzies biography mystery
4 World War II to the end of the Menzies line
5 The modern era begins
6 Bob Hawke, writ large
7 Polaroids of a busy life
8 Political biography as political intervention