By Paul Kelly
Twenty-five years after becoming prime minister, Bob Hawke's rise to power is still one of the most dramatic political narratives Australia has known. The Hawke Ascendancy tells the story of the Labor Party's return to office in 1983 after its crushing defeat in 1975. It is the inside account of Bob Hawke, Malcolm Fraser, and Bill Hayden, and their unique power struggle. This definitive work deals with the personality clashes, policy achievements, and power struggles in both the Labor and Liberal parties. Hawke, alienated from his own party in 1975, finally broke down the doors of its opposition to him and became Labor's savior and one of Australia's most respected prime ministers. Fraser, invulnerable and all-powerful in 1975, eventually succumbed to external pressures and internal weakness. Hayden, an initially reluctant but then aggressive leader, took Labor to the very brink only to falter himself. And the ruthlessly ambitious John Howard was biding his time. In this first installment of his incisive and compelling analysis of modern Australian politics, Paul Kelly sketches the triumph and tragedy of individuals against the big issues of the era- economic management, resources development, and Australia's place in the world. The Hawke Ascendancy is, above all, a gripping inside account of how Australian politics really works.