David Day reviews 'Joseph Lyons: The people’s Prime Minister' by Anne Henderson

Joseph Lyons: The People’s Prime Minister

by Anne Henderson

NewSouth, $49.95 hb, 480 pp, 9781742231426

This book is long overdue. It is eighty years since affable Joseph Lyons, often depicted by cartoonists as a koala, was elected as Australia’s tenth prime minister. He would be re-elected twice before dying in office in April 1939. During his seven years as prime minister, Lyons had to grapple with the Depression, the decline of the British Empire, and the threat of Germany and Japan. Yet no historian until now has seen fit to give Lyons’s life the attention it so clearly deserves.

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David Day

David Day

David Day has been a junior research fellow at Clare College in Cambridge, a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo and University College Dublin, and a research fellow at La Trobe University, the Australian National University, Churchill College, and the University of Aberdeen. Among his many books, he has written prize-winning biographies of John Curtin, Ben Chifley, and Andrew Fisher; and is currently completing a biography of Paul Keating. His first book was Menzies and Churchill at War.

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