James Walter reviews 'Incorrigible Optimist: A political memoir' by Gareth Evans

James Walter reviews 'Incorrigible Optimist: A political memoir' by Gareth Evans

Incorrigible Optimist: A political memoir

by Gareth Evans

Melbourne University Press, $49.99 hb, 415 pp, 9780522866445

Gareth Evans is one of the more interesting figures from the Hawke–Keating governments, not alone as a high achiever in a talented team, nor in the tenacity that saw him remain so long in the inner circle, but unusual in forging a cosmopolitan career of such substance thereafter. His political memoir demonstrates the continuity of his principal concerns – identified in the thematic chapter headings of his book – from his earliest exposure to student politics through his success as foreign minister (1988–96) to stewardship of the International Crisis Group (and many other international panels and commissions besides). It is a story spiced with both the idealism and megalomania that he concludes drive productive political engagement.

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Published in November 2017, no. 396
James Walter

James Walter

James Walter is professor of politics at Monash University, and has published widely on leadership, biography, and political ideas. His last book was What Were They Thinking? The Politics of Ideas in Australia (UNSW Press, 2010).

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