Gough Whitlam was fond of replying to requests for interviews from historians by saying that all the answers could be found in the archives. ‘Go to the documents, comrade’, was his refrain. However, official documents rarely tell the whole story, particularly those from the modern era, whose authors are conscious that their words could so easily be exposed to public scrutiny. In particular, they are usually bereft of the innermost thoughts and motivations of the politicians and public servants. By contrast, politicians’ diaries can be goldmines. Written contemporaneously, an unguarded diary entry can transform our understanding of people and events.
Diary of a confidant to Hawke and Keating
Inside the Hawke–Keating Government: A Cabinet Diary
by Gareth Evans
Melbourne University Press, $49.99 hb, 432 pp, 9780522866421
Read the rest of this article by subscribing to ABR Online for as little as $10 a month. We offer a range of subscription options, including print, which can be found by clicking here. If you are already a subscriber, enter your username and password in the ‘Log In’ section in the top right-hand corner of the screen. If you require assistance, contact us or consult the Frequently Asked Questions page.
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.
By this contributor
Leave a comment
Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.
NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.