James Walter reviews 'Tiberius with a Telephone: The life and stories of William McMahon' by Patrick Mullins

James Walter reviews 'Tiberius with a Telephone: The life and stories of William McMahon' by Patrick Mullins

Tiberius with a Telephone: The life and stories of William McMahon

by Patrick Mullins

Scribe, $59.99 hb, 784 pp, 9781925713602

Billy McMahon, Australia’s twentieth prime minister, held the post for less than two years (March 1971–December 1972). In surveys of both public esteem and professional opinion, he is generally ranked as our least accomplished prime minister. He is also, until now, the only prime minister for whom there has been no serious biography published. No one, perhaps, thought it worth the effort.

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James Walter

James Walter

James Walter is Emeritus Professor of Politics at Monash University, and has published widely on leadership, biography, and political ideas. Volume two of his history of the Australian prime ministership (with Paul Strangio and Paul ‘t Hart),The pivot of power: The Australian prime ministership 1950 –2016 (Miegunyah Press), was published in 2017.

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