This is a book with a strange genesis. Its author, Derek Rielly, explains that he confessed to an agent one night that he’d always wanted to meet Bob Hawke. Her response was: ‘I know a publisher who loves Bob. Get me a proposal.’ In order to obtain Bob’s cooperation, Rielly had first to win over Blanche d’Alpuget and then the ‘greatest post-war prime minister’ himself. Given that Blanche herself has had two goes at nailing her husband’s colours to history’s mast, and that there is in fact a vast literature on The Hawke Ascendancy (as Paul Kelly, no less, tagged it), both of these ageing lovebirds are at first a little dubious about what more might be said. But the brash, youngish author (he tells us that Bob ‘filled my teenage season, culturally and politically’) informs the ex-PM he wants to interview him ‘about the joy of love. Desire. Finding true love through infidelity. Fatherhood. Success. Friendship. Religion in the modern world. Sport. The making of a man and what manhood is. Women. The lingering tang of any political bitterness. Enemies. The state of geopolitics. Death.’
Richard Walsh reviews 'Wednesdays with Bob' by Bob Hawke and Derek Rielly
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Richard Walsh was founding editor of OZ and POL magazines and the weekly newspaper Nation Review. From 1972–86 he was managing director of Angus & Robertson Publishers, and from 1986–96 he headed Australian Consolidated Press. Currently he is Consultant Publisher at Allen & Unwin. He is the author of nine books; his most recent is, Reboot (MUP).
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