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John Curtin's War : The coming of war in the Pacific, and reinventing Australia - John Edwards

John Curtin's War

The coming of war in the Pacific, and reinventing Australia


Published: 13th November 2017
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Published: 13th November 2017
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John Curtin became Australia’s Prime Minister eight weeks before Japan launched war in the Pacific.

Curtin’s struggle for power against Joe Lyons and Bob Menzies, his dramatic use of it when he took office in October 1941, and his determination to be heard in Washington and London as Japan advanced, is a political epic unmatched in Australian experience. As Japan sank much of the Allied navy, advanced on the great British naval base at Singapore, and seized Australian territories in New Guinea, Curtin remade Australia.

Using much new material John Edwards’ vivid, landmark biography places Curtin as a man of his times, puzzling through he immense changes in Australia and its region released by the mighty shock of the Pacific War.

It shows Curtin not as a hero and certainly not as a villain but as the pivotal figure making his uncertain way between what Australia was, and what it would become. It locates the turning point in Australian history not at Gallipoli or the Western Front or even Federation but in the Pacific War and in Curtin’s Prime Ministership.

This two volume work is a major contribution to Australian biography, and to how we understand our history. In this first part, Edwards takes Curtin’s story from the late nineteenth century socialist ferment in Melbourne through to his appointment as prime minister and a Japanese onslaught so complete and successful that within a few months of launching it military leaders in Tokyo debated between the options of invading Australia, or sealing it off from Allied help.

About the Author

John Edwards has written six nonfiction books, including the bestselling Keating: The Inside Story, published by Penguin.

John is a Nonresident Fellow at the Lowy Institute and adjunct professor at the John Curtin Institute of Public Policy at Curtin University. He has been a member of the board of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Chief Economist for HSBC Bank in Australia and New Zealand, and was a senior economic adviser for Treasurer and then Prime Minister Paul Keating.


A readable political history of Curtain's leadership


This is a readable and detailed account of the leadership of John Curtain leading up to the outbreak of the Pacific War. It covers Curtain's early political career until early 1942. There is a second volume on the way to describe the all-too-short remainder of his life. For those who place all their faith in "great and powerful friends", this is a timely reminder that in the end nations act out of self-interest and not some obligation to others.

Inverloch, Australia



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ISBN: 9780670073474
ISBN-10: 0670073474
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 560
Published: 13th November 2017
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.9 x 16.2  x 4.8
Weight (kg): 0.9
Edition Number: 1