This re-release of Blanche d'Alpuget's classic 1982 biography remains one of the finest examples of political biography in Australian literature. D'Alpuget's sensitivity and psychological insight into Hawke's early years reveal how the son of devout Christian parents had been reared to public duty and to the ambition of political leadership.
Known throughout his life as a tireless campaigner for workers' rights, Hawke was a Rhodes Scholar, educated in three universities, before rejecting an academic career to commit himself to the trade union movement. As President of the ACTU from 1970 to 1980 he was a master negotiator and peacemaker in industrial life. He agitated for social and economic reforms, becoming a folk hero and the most popular Australian of his time.
While he was president of the Australian Labor Party he sought to heal its wounds after the sacking of the Whitlam government - and in his capacity as union leader he held back potentially violent industrial action over this most divisive issue.
To unionists he was a giant killer; to employers, a crypto-Communist bent upon their destruction. Hawke : The Early Years is an intimate portrait of a man before his rise to the highest office in Australia.
About The Author
Blanche d'Alpuget is the author of seven books, including four novels - Monkeys in the Dark (1980), Turtle Beach (1981), Winter in Jerusalem (1986) and White Eye (1993). These works won a number of literary prizes including the PEN Golden Jublilee Award, The Age Novel of the Year Award, the South Australian Premier's Award and the Australasian Prize for Commonwealth Literature. d'Alpuget's Mediator: A Biography of Sir Richard Kirby was published in 1977 to critical acclaim. Robert J. Hawke: A Biography (1982) was both a national bestseller and the winner of several awards. After a long break, d'Alpuget returned to writing with a short work, On Longing, released in 2008.
She has served on the boards of the ACT Arts Advisory Council, the Copyright Agency Ltd, the Australian Film Commission and has been the Chair of the Australian Society of Authors. As Austcare Goodwill Ambassador between 1992 and 1996 she wrote of the plight of refugees from Indochina, the former Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. She is a Patron of the Australia China Friendship Society in NSW and the Patron of Inala, a Rudolph Steiner organisation catering for people with severe disabilities.
She lives in Sydney with her husband and son and a Rhodesian ridgeback.