By its title, Tales from the Political Trenches promises reportage from the front line, eyewitness accounts of what really happens in the hidden zones of the political battlefield. The tales told here follow a rollercoaster sequence of political events: the meteoric rise of Kevin Rudd, Maxine McKew’s triumph over John Howard in the seat of Bennelong in the 2007 election, the plotting of malcontents, the sudden strike by a deputy whose ambitions could not be curbed. The bloodletting may be figurative, but it’s an almost Shakespearean dramatic pattern. There are shades of Richard II, Julius Caesar, and Macbeth.
Voyeurs and players
The main game in Canberra
Tales from the Political Trenches
by Maxine McKew
Melbourne University Press, $29.99 pb, 256 pp, 9780522862218
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Jane Goodall is a freelance writer and adjunct professor with the Writing and Society Research Group, University of Western Sydney. Her work has appeared recently in Griffith Review, Inside Story, and The Conversation. She won the Calibre Prize in 2009.
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