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Tales from the Political Trenches

3.27  ·  Rating Details ·  64 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
An intimate account of one of the most tumultuous periods in Australian politics as well as a tale of personal change, this memoir discusses what went wrong during the 2010 elections—which left the Labor party clinging to the wreckage and forced into minority government. Bringing a reporter’s eye and an insider’s knowledge to a story that has caused despair among Labor ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 12th 2013 by Melbourne University Publishing (first published October 31st 2012)
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Gabrielle Trenbath
Mar 22, 2013 Gabrielle Trenbath rated it really liked it
As an ALP hack and in Sydney during the 2007 election campaign, I found it interesting to read her story about her time in Politics as well as why we didn't hear more from her. It soon became apparent that it was the party machine's slight obsession with keeping on message at all costs But as I got through the book I found that it was as much about her story as it was about the current problems with the party and politics in general.

It was often painful to see the dirty laundry of the party whos
Matt John
Nov 19, 2012 Matt John rated it really liked it
As a former television journalist, McKew may be best remembered for her victory in the seat of Bennelong in 2007, where she not only ousted PM John Howard, but became the first Australian Labor Party (ALP) federal representative of the electorate for a very long time.

"Tales from the Political Trenches" is McKew's story told first-hand. From the time she decided to run against Howard, through to loosing this seat in the 2010 federal election. McKew, an obvious support of Kevin Rudd, discusses her
Barbara Boyd-Anderson
Jan 05, 2013 Barbara Boyd-Anderson rated it it was amazing
The only way we ever find out what the politicians are doing, as opposed to what they tell us, is when an insider, someone like Maxine, documents and reports in this kind of detail....

Fascinating, but sad reading about the current mess we call Oz politics...This account is very recent, so the major players are still up there in our parliament, and not doing well at all...No wonder Australians do not trust them. And it is hard, maybe impossible to maintain any kind of idealism in this arena...And
May 27, 2013 Jeanette rated it really liked it
An honest frank insight into the joys and disasters of the ALP since 2007. We need more politicians like Maxine McKew - not "owned" by a faction, and prepared to be committed, honest and ethical. Regardless of your political leanings, this book is worth a read.
Colleen Nielsen
Good insight into the machinations of a political party. Very easy to read, Maxine is a good writer. Thoroughly recommend!
Maxine McKew’s candid review of her brief stint as a Federal Parliamentarian reveals as much about assumptions and oversights as it does about insights and analysis. These are both of others and herself.

Being a party member for the duration of her stoush against the incumbent Prime Minister John Howard, necessarily has her talking from a two-party preferred point of view. At one point she does mention a Greens candidate in her long lists of help and pleasant people on her exit route, but in the
Feb 17, 2013 Pauline rated it liked it
Tales from the Political Trenches is an account of her own brief political career, including the fall from leadership of Kevin Rudd, written by Australian journalist turned politician, Maxine McKew. Like all insider accounts of history it is partial and self-serving but also instructive. McKew’s central question is how the historic opportunity for cultural and strategic transformation of Australia was squandered after the election of Rudd in 2007, particularly by his deposing during his first te ...more
Dec 18, 2012 Pete rated it liked it
Shelves: politics
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 23, 2013 Robyn rated it really liked it
Maxine McKew's book is an absorbing insight into the machinations of politics in Australia. Whilst I can understand some view the book as nothing more than self-aggrandisement, especially following the publicity surrounding its release, however I think its an interesting viewpoint from someone new to the political sphere.
Mckew's journalistic background is obvious as she tells the story of her coming to understand the mood and personality of her electorate and her subsequent entry to parliamentar
Kristian Brockmann
Sep 23, 2013 Kristian Brockmann rated it really liked it
Great to read the story from Maxine's insight into the political hurdles facing Rudd and Gillard through an often difficult climate. Rudd seemed to face Howard's "Exit Right" which was the quarterly essay by Judith Brett on that fateful time in June when the dramas all took place. I met Maxine in Bennelong to spill the beans on Turnbull's difficulties with Sydney Water and was lucky also to go along to a couple of her speaking appearances. Bravo Ms McKew from that great victory in 2007 and for ...more
Rich Gamble
Aug 19, 2013 Rich Gamble rated it liked it
Not bad enough to put down but not good enough to recommend. Maxine spends the first half of the book repeatedly congratulating herself for winning against a sitting prime minister. The end is like an extended thank you/concession of defeat speech. Scattered in-between are some interesting insights about day to day political life and how the government ‘machine’ operates. Only a year since release a lot has already changed. I like KRudd as a personality but he seems to have forgotten his caucus ...more
Feb 02, 2014 Christine rated it really liked it
Political factions have a lot to answer for don't they? That's what I took away from this political memoir. It seems that if as a politician you don't align yourself with a faction, then clearly you're not going to last. Certainly Maxine experienced the highs and lows of political life and gives an insight into the fickle business that is Australian politics. My edition has the political story finishing sometime in 2012, which left me wanting, given the year that was 2013. Would love to know her ...more
Jan 20, 2013 Peter rated it it was ok
I've read some great and revealing political books but this was not one of them. I found parts of it plain boring and got lost in the plethora of names...I must have been in the 1% of the population who failed to rate a mention. There were a few good chapters (very few) and I struggled to get a grip on some of the word usage. For entertainment and insight it didn't rate with Richo's colourful tell-all. All told I thought it was very ordinary.
Sophie Benjamin
Dec 05, 2012 Sophie Benjamin rated it liked it
Overall an interesting insight into how and why the current federal government (and the ALP in general) got into strife and pissed off the general public.
I struggled through the first half of the book, as McKew drones on and on about her achievements.
It gets interesting once you get into the bit after she gets elected.
Nov 28, 2012 Benjamin rated it really liked it
A very interesting perspective. A little unbalanced of course, but a journalist's take on some very important events in recent Australian political history.
Apr 03, 2013 Gail rated it did not like it
I knew this would be a hit or a miss - for me, too much jumping around time wise in the first few pages had me giving up quickly.
Aaron Maras
Aaron Maras rated it it was ok
May 11, 2015
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Robyn rated it it was ok
Apr 10, 2013
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May 09, 2016
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