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Recollections Of A Bleeding Heart. A Portrait Of Paul Keating PM

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  195 ratings  ·  16 reviews
If he had never become Prime Minister Paul Keating's place in Australian history would still have been assured. He was the Treasurer who deregulated the economy; the weaver of Labor's modern story; its heavy weapon in the parliament. He was also the great enigma - a self-educated boy from Sydney's working class and a defining element of the head-kicking Labor right who lov ...more
Published (first published 2002)
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Puts a human face on the hard man and gives an insight into his character.
I've read a hundred or more political memoirs and if this is not at the top of the list it would be pretty close to it. Wonderful stuff.
This weighty tome focuses a little too much (for my liking) on Don Watson's POV as the writer, which tends to over-qualify rather a few points (though who can blame him given the reputation for hyperbolic vitriol that PJK has?).

None-the-less - it's a fine political biography, providing an authentic insight into the flawed and colourful character of arguably the greatest strategic political visionary this country has yet produced.

Should be required reading in the Australian curriculum.
Michael Ryan
At 746 pages it's a wordy tome. But Don Watson is a speechwriter so it has a nice humourous lilt to it in style.

I did not live through the Keating era but he was clearly a man of unimaginable talent.

This book leaves me a little sorry to have missed it all. I am sure I would have found it a fascinating time.
Skye Fraser
May 16, 2012 Skye Fraser is currently reading it
I think I have a massive crush on Paul Keating so I wish it was more about Paul and less about Don. I think I really want to be reading his speeches. However there are some great political insights and some clanger quotes. Just need time to finish this door stop.
Darren Clear
The last great man in Australian Politics. A must read for all those who yearn for leadership again at our highest levels of government.
Peter Jakobsen
A portrait both affectionate and sharp, of Paul Keating, Australia's Prime Minister from 1991 to 1996, beautifully written and constructed by his 'bleeding heart' speechwriter. For all his faults, Keating was a remarkable polemicist and his panache, once he had got to grips with a concept, was extraordinary. Best example: turning John Hewson's budget reply charge that Keating would "pull everyone down to the lowest denominator" into the lethal response: "John Hewson says, 'if you reach back for ...more
Paul Keating is a kind, charming and very intelligent man who would risk his own life to save yours or to get an unwanted crease out of his trousers.

A compelling look from the inside during Paul Keating's time as Prime Minister as told by his speechwriter Don Watson.

Beginning from when Keating took the leadership from Bob Hawke, tracking the 1993 election and its success, and the ups and downs of holding Australia's highest office - 'Recollections of a Bleeding Heart' is difficult to put dow
Fred Charles
A well written unauthorized biography by Keating's speech writer.
I am an Australian.
I guess it depends on your politics. I am a floating voter, but I will read anything about Keating. Love him or hate him, he is a very talented self taught man who became a federal politician at just 25 years of age.
He introduced or was heavily involved in the floating of the Australian dollar, Native Title Act., the formation of APEC.
It was a brave but usually foolish person who debated a subject with Keating.
John Dunlop
I'm finding it better to read out aloud as if to another person savoring the words and the ideas he expresses. Perhaps it is because Don Watson was a speechwriter during the period he is writing about.

... Two years on and I've yet to finish it. I keep losing my place, but it doesn't seem to matter. The way it is written with not clear compartmentalising of it timewise lends it to being opened at any page and read until the Train or bus you're on arrives at its destination.
Brett Davison
If you like Paul Keating….
A biography written by a man very close to “The Man” that leaves you with a deep melancholy. It gives a dizzying insight into what might have been had the “Kirribilli Pact” been executed. An insight into a Political Warrior wearily summoning the energy to rail against the dying light. And despite his Napoleonic tendencies towards the end…….
I miss him. (Did you know his Cabinet colleagues christened him Captain Wacky??)
Jess Tait

Frustrating the way politics are played and the media with all their little games. I did sometimes feel that Watson put a little too much emphasis on himself and his sway in government, but I suppose this makes sense after years of writing the speeches and remaining behind the scenes. Still, great read with fascinating insights.
Absolutely outstanding. Captures the period and the man incredibly well. Genuine depth. It is a shame that modern politics lacks a Keating like figure. This is a 'must read' for anyone interested in Australian politics.
Peter Franklin
Interesting to read but felt it was too long. Many parts gave an insight into the political but would have been better if it was half the size; 730 pages is a lot especially if politics is not your main interest.
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Watson grew up on a farm in Gippsland, took his undergraduate degree at La Trobe University and a Ph.D at Monash University and was for ten years an academic historian. He wrote three books on Australian history before turning his hand to TV and the stage. For several years he combined writing political satire for the actor Max Gillies with political speeches for the former Premier of Victoria, Jo ...more
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“Outside half a dozen youthful demonstrators chanted about the rights of the ‘young unemployed’. The Prime Minister excepted, they were the best dressed people in West Torrens. There is no disguising a Young Liberal’s haircut.” 0 likes
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