Monday, June 25, 2012

Winter reading invites tales of politics and the lifestyles of the Rich and Tasteful

The Media Pack at the ALP National Conference
Suddenly, Last Winter (Bob Ellis) Apart from the name dropping and minute by minute account of Bob’s life, the point of this book remains unclear. In a few places I wondered why we needed to know, for example, that he ate a hamburger and two lattes or what time he went to bed. But it is a good account of the game that they call politics despite it being a little vague and lacking substance. This would be good summer reading for those who love books about Australia’s strangest election (of which there are not many) as well as “Political Hacks” and “Game Players” of which there are hundreds. 

Campaign Ruby (Jessica Rudd) is a story of a political novice on her first election campaign. I must admit that I am not a great fan of the “Chick Lit” genre but I did find this book entertaining not only because it is about a favorite topic but it was fast paced enough to keep my interest. It was a little predictable at times (eg Ruby falling for journalist who later turns out to be a rat) but on the whole it was great if you needed light reading or a distraction from everyday life.            

Kevin 07

Inside Kevin 07 (Christine Jackman) This book reads like a text book for political campaigns and well researched, detailed and well written. It describes how the Kevin07 team understood Australia’s political psyche.  For the first time in many years the ALP were able to offer up a strong and discipline campaign that used successful communication and social media techniques. It is a book that highlights that their campaign was so successful that removed one of Australia’s longest and popular Prime Ministers not only from the top political job but also took his seat. I thought it was prophetic when writer Christine Jackman asks “But what if winning in 2007 was really the easy part?” History shows that it probably was.

Andrew West had his finger on the pulse when he wrote "Inside the Lifestyles of the Rich and Tasteful". I found this book to be an accurate portrayal an aspect of Australia's Class System (opps, there I said it) and part of our society that Australians deny exist. I kept of giggling while I read the book as I recognised myself and others in his look at contemporary Australian inner-city life. It is short, to-the-point and well worth the read.  

This is a laugh out loud book on the last 50 years or so in politics. You might be forgiven to think that Phillip is one of the "faceless men" of Australian politics but in reality he's more of an astute observer and commentator. It's the humorous insight on the personalities that have come and gone over the past 50 years and what happens behind the scenes that makes this book so enjoyable.   

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