Neal Blewett

Neal Blewett reviews 'Evatt: A life' by John Murphy

Neal Blewett
24 October 2016

John Murphy opens his magisterial study of Herbert Vere Evatt – the fourth major biography of the good doctor – with an essay on the challenge of writing biography in general, and of . More

Neal Blewett reviews 'The Killing Season Uncut' by Sarah Ferguson with Patricia Drum

Neal Blewett
21 July 2016

Books have long provided fodder for films and television. Now films and television series, particularly documentaries, spawn books. The Killing Season Uncut is a ...

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Neal Blewett reviews 'Universal Man' by Richard Davenport-Hines

Neal Blewett
25 November 2015

John Maynard Keynes has not lacked for biographers – about a dozen at last count. His first, his student Roy Harrod, established the framework of the public life, though providing only a sanitised version of the private Keynes. Donald Moggridge wrote the definitive account of the economic man, while Robert Skidelsky, with his three-volume work, John Maynard Ke ... More

Neal Blewett reviews 'My Story' by Julia Gillard

Neal Blewett
21 November 2014

Much like her government, Julia Gillard’s memoir resembles the proverbial curate’s egg. Where her passions are involved, as with education (‘Our Children’) or the fair work laws, we are provided with a compelling policy read. Where they are not, as in large slabs of foreign policy, the insightful competes with the pedestrian, enlivened admittedly with her pe ... More

Neal Blewett reviews Bob Carr

Neal Blewett
26 May 2014
Where Neal Blewett - another notable political diarist - wonders if Bob Carr recieved 'an epistle from on high' when he published his diaries, as happened to Blewett in the 1990s More

Neal Blewett reviews 'Perilous Question'

Neal Blewett
25 June 2013

Over fifty years have passed since I wrote my first tutorial essay in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE), or Modern Greats, as it was known in Oxford. The subject was the Great Reform Bill of 1832, which for the first time in over a century expanded the right to vote and redrew the electoral map of Great Britain. I had planned to read history, but when ... More

Neal Blewett on Gough Whitlam's biography

Neal Blewett
28 October 2012

Jenny Hocking concluded the first volume of her Whitlam biography (2008) on the eve of her subject’s electoral victory in December 1972. Gough Whitlam had been the most effective and creative opposition leader in Australian history: since 1967 he had dragged a protesting Labor party into the second half of the twentieth century; provided the party with a contempor ... More

Neal Blewett on 'Thinking the Twentieth Century'

Neal Blewett
28 May 2012

This author, this book, and its composition are all extraordinary. Tony Judt, one of the most distinguished historians of his generation, made his name with studies of French intellectual history, then in 2005 he published his masterwork, Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945. For me this is the finest historical study written this century. Empirically gr ... More

Neal Blewett on 'After Words: The Post-Prime Ministerial Speeches'

Neal Blewett
23 January 2012

As of writing, Australia has six living ex-prime ministers – not quite a record. Of these, one, of course, is still in parliamentary harness, and may still aspire to the top job. Of the remaining five, all but one have provided us with voluminous accounts of their stewardship. The exception is our twenty-fourth prime minister, Paul Keating (1991–96). Not that he ... More