By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
Lazarus Rising: A Personal and Political Autobiography
By John Howard (HarperCollins, $59.95, hardback, 711 pages)
Australia’s second longest-serving Prime Minister John Howard reveals a lot about himself in this autobiography that’s not for the timid.
While it is an educational insight into the political process, this part-political memoir is also part-explanation for his government’s almost 12 years in power. It makes for a fascinating journey through a changing Australia.
History related through the eyes of an insider, Lazarus Rising is about a man of resilience who describes his 33 years in Parliament as having “had a fortunate life in politics”. Howard classifies himself as a conviction politician whose basic political philosophy is a blend of economic liberalism and social conservatism.
John Winston Howard is credited with reshaping Australia and its place in the world more forcefully than any other PM. Having led the Liberal Party to victory over four elections, his ideologies have united and divided many Australians.
Born at the start of World War II, Howard fastened onto the family passion for politics and current affairs and studied extra hard to overcome serious deafness. His life has been a natural progression from school debating, law, the Liberal Party and family life with Janette.
This book, separated into three sections, outlines Howard’s early years and his time in the Fraser Government, his years in opposition and finally the longest section (not surprisingly) is the Howard Government. Each chapter deals with a theme of certain explicit events or his time as PM.
Written in an easy, comprehensible style, Howard’s account is neat, not cluttered. Some chapters defend his record as he carefully outlines the circumstances and rationale for decisions, putting in analysis and summaries as well. He tells us how he responded on issues vital to the nation like gun control and the aftermath of 9/11. As part of his reform agenda, he instituted the unpopular Goods and Services Tax, privatised Telstra and established the ‘work for the dole’ scheme.
Lazarus Rising providesvaluable insight into how personalities interact, the conflicts, compromises and the resulting impact on creating government policy.
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.