Richard Walsh reviews 'Wednesdays with Bob' by Bob Hawke and Derek Rielly

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.’

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Published in December 2017, no. 397

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