Australian Political Lives

Australian Political Lives

Chronicling political careers and administrative histories

Edited by: Tracey Arklay, John Nethercote, John Wanna orcid
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This monograph brings together some of the best practitioners of the art and craft of political biography in Australia. They are simultaneously some of our best scholars who, at least in part, have turned their attention to writing Australian political lives. They are not merely chroniclers of our times but multidisciplinary analysts constructing layers of explanation and theoretical insight. They include academic, professional and amateur biographers; scholars from a range of disciplines (politics, history, sociology, public administration, gender studies); and politicians who for a time strutted the political stage. The assembled papers explore the strengths and weaknesses of the biographical approach; the enjoyment it can deliver; the problems and frustrations of writing biographies; and the various ways the ‘project’ can be approached by those constructing these lives. They probe the art and craft of the political biographer.


ISBN (print):
ISBN (online):
Publication date:
Oct 2006
ANU Press
Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG)
The Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG)
Arts & Humanities: Biography & Autobiography, History; Social Sciences: Indigenous Studies, Politics & International Studies

PDF Chapters

Australian Political Lives »

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  1. The Art of Australian Political Biography (PDF, 160KB) Geoffrey Bolton
  2. Political Biography: Its Contribution to Political Science (PDF, 145KB) Tracey Arklay
  3. Recording Non-Labor Politics Through Biography (PDF, 110KB) Judith Brett
  4. The ‘Life Myth’, ‘Short Lives’ and Dealing with Live Subjects in Political Biography (PDF, 119KB) James Walter
  5. Public Lives, Private Lives: the Fundamental Dilemma in Political Biography (PDF, 124KB) Nicholas Brown
  6. Expanding The Repertoire: Theory, Method and Language in Political Biography (PDF, 122KB) R. A. W. Rhodes
  7. John Curtin: Taking his Childhood Seriously (PDF, 105KB) David Day
  8. Ministers, Prime Ministers, Mandarins: Politics as a Job (PDF, 114KB) Patrick Weller
  9. Biography and the Rehabilitation of the Subject: The Case of John Gorton (PDF, 111KB) Ian Hancock
  10. Aboriginality and Impersonality: Three Australian Indigenous Administrative Memoirs (PDF, 121KB) Tim Rowse
  11. Writing Political Biography (PDF, 106KB) Rae Wear
  12. Jessie Street and the New Political Biography (PDF, 111KB) Lenore Coltheart
  13. Conjuring Fascinating Stories: the Case of Sir Arthur Tange (PDF, 89KB) Peter Edwards
  14. Anonymous in Life, Anonymous in Death: Memoirs and Biographies of Administrators (PDF, 110KB) John Nethercote
  15. The Personal Writings of Politicians (PDF, 117KB) Neal Blewett
  16. Writing Political Autobiographies (PDF, 107KB) John Button
  17. Political Biographies and Administrative Memoirs: Some Concluding Comments (PDF, 159KB) Philip A. Selth


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