Gold serif

Well, the Kevin Rudd memoir is here, and the first thing I noticed is the obligatory gold serif title, reserved for sportspeople and politicians. This book actually looks more sporting memoir than political memoir. The design people at Macmillan must have spent a good twenty seconds or so thinking about this cover. Anyway, that’s the bad news. The good news is, Rudd’s book has welcoming heft. Unlike some politicians who seem to want to just get something out there, Rudd seems to have enjoyed writing this, if length is an indication. And it is only volume one. He says in the prologue that practical considerations got in the way of keeping his story to one volume, and by this we assume he means his long-windedness. The title (‘Not for the Faint Hearted’) refers to politics, but it could be a warning to the casual reader beginning its 600 pages. (Though this is not a bad thing. A political memoir needs to read well in both style and content, and at least here the signs are that both the tale and the telling are good.) In this perhaps he is emulating Henry Kissinger, whose three volumes of memoir came in at well over three thousand pages (and only covered his years in the service of presidents Nixon and Ford). That’s not the only comparison. Kissinger and Rudd are both academically minded, interested in and have experience in diplomacy and world affairs, particularly China. While leaning towards the progressive side of politics they both aroused suspicion that they were secretly conservatives. They are both gregarious, with a sense of humour, but also harbor a darker, Machiavellian side. They both have egos, can be histrionic or amiable, depending on mood. This is nothing unusual. Politicians are usually complex people. In Rudd’s case, it looks like all his complexities, good and bad, are on display in his new book.

 

 

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