In December 1991 Paul Keating wrested the role of Prime Minister from Bob Hawke and the bruises from that struggle were part of the baggage he brought to the job: the other parts included the worst recession in 60 years and an electorate determined to make him pay for it. Keating defied the odds and won the 1993 election, and in his four years as Prime Minister set Australia on a new course – towards engagement with Asia, a republic, reconciliation, a social democracy built on a modern export-based economy and sophisticated public systems of education and training, health and social security. Widely regarded as a quintessential economic rationalist, Keating’s record clearly shows that his vision was infinitely broader and more complex.
Don Watson was employed as Keating’s speechwriter. Based on the diaries Watson kept through the four turbulent and exhausting years of Keating’s Prime Ministership, on its release Recollections of a Bleeding Heart was widely deemed a masterpiece. It is at once a groundbreaking ‘inside’ account of politics and a profound and extraordinarily frank study of the most intriguing and visionary politician in Australia’s modern history.
Now, when vision and character have all but vanished from politics, Don Watson’s Recollections makes absorbing – and essential – reading.
“This book is like the black box recorder in a plane.” – former PM Paul Keating
“one of the most intelligent and seductive books about Australian politics which has ever come my way.” – Robert Manne, The Sydney Morning Herald
“…the story of four tumultuous years told by an intelligent and curious insider, and no insider has ever done it better.” – Les Carlyon, The Bulletin
“…the finest insider’s account yet published of Australian politics in action at the highest level.” – Tony Baker, The Adelaide Advertiser
“….a sheer delight to read…written by a man who would have difficulty putting together a dull sentence…Watson stiches a rich tapestry of national, international and personal context.” – Diana Simmonds, The Sun-Herald