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The Killing Season: Uncut

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  267 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Australians came to the ABC documentary series The Killing Season in their droves, their fascination with the Rudd-Gillard struggle as enduring as the saga itself. This is the book that brings you the uncut version of The Killing Season, taking you behind the cameras to reveal the untold stories and candid moments that didn’t go to air. For the first time a more complete v ...more
Paperback, 301 pages
Published April 18th 2016 by Melbourne University Press
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4.22  · 
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 ·  267 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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This is like a coroner’s inquest into what was widely suggested to be the death of Australia’s Labor Party. As I write, we're in the last 3 weeks of the 2016 Federal election with Labor looking very competitive.

The TV series about the 2007-2013 Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years was terrific, and the book adds more background and colour by explaining how Sarah Ferguson and her crew convinced the various players to be interviewed, and in some cases, to recreate the scenes. In other cases, people declined
'The last week of Parliament: in politics they call it the killing season.'

(Rounding up from 4.5 stars.)

I've been particularly interested in the Rudd - Gillard - Rudd era of Australian politics lately, mostly due to the exceptionally made ABC documentary series 'The Killing Season.' I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book which explores those years in greater detail. I was hooked from the opening chapter in which Kevin Rudd is barricading himself inside the studio's green room and refusing
Jun 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was completely wrong. I thought the TV series was brilliant and that nothing could be added to it by the book (and in fact I may have questioned why it was even released). I'm so glad I still decided to read it, it was a fascinating read. A very strong 4 maybe even 4.5/5.
Nov 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Sarah Ferguson is fabulous, extra star as she survived accidentally seeing Wayne Swan in his undies.
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
The years of Labor government from 2007-2013 were overshadowed by the leadership spills and the reasoning (or lack thereof) for them. But more than that, the media fed off endless speculation of the next spill, which fed into the political uncertainty and instability at the time.
The Killing Season: Uncut tells the story of the spills but seemingly let's the media off the hook for the part they played in the saga. In the book, politicians complaining about the media is likened to rugby players co
Andrew McMillen
Apr 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
A fine accompaniment to a stunning three-part television documentary, 'The Killing Season Uncut' tells the story of Australia's Rudd-Gillard-Rudd prime ministership of the recent past. Like the series, the book follows a strict chronology that features extensive interviews with key players within the Australian Labor Party, including Rudd and Gillard. In the text version, journalist Sarah Ferguson – ably assisted by series researcher Patricia Drum – offers occasional asides about the interviews ...more
A very interesting read. Ferguson's storytelling captures much of the drama of 2007-2013, but I just can't accept the extent to which she seems to make excuses for Rudd, who to my mind remains one of the greatest villains of Australian politics and the Australian labor movement.
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book simultaneously tells two stories. One is the of the Rudd-Gillard years, as told by not just the two antagonists but also others who were involved in the political (and to a lesser extent the policy) sphere. Expanding on the television series of the same name, this book eschewed off the record talks with everyone quoted in this book putting their name to their recollections and views. To have it done reveals the competing memories of the time/versions of history of that tumultuous time. ...more
Jo Durand
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have had this book on my pile for a while, as I was interested to read it but am not too keen on political books. It was a heady time to be a part of the labour movement during the years that this book covers (election of the Rudd-Gillard Labor Government). The book filled out some blanks for me about the Labor side of the 2007 election.
Ironically, I was still reading the book when Malcolm Turnbull was turfed from his position as Prime Minister and ScoMo was installed.
It was an insightful book
Dec 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Journalist Ferguson made a TV series examining the rise and fall of the Australian Labor Party prime ministers Rudd and Gillard, relying almost exclusively on filmed interviews of the key players to tell the story. It makes for really good viewing if Australian politics is your thing.

She then wrote a book that is an "extended edition" of the series, featuring extra quotes from the interviews and tied together by her own insights and commentary on the behind-the-scenes behaviour of the interview
Mar 09, 2019 rated it liked it
A interesting read especially further removed from the events in the book.
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Unbridged audiobook. Interesting but would be better if included audio from the politicians and staffers involved, instead of author reading out quotes.
Deniz Horasan
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant insight to the demise of the 07 Labor Party. The potential was endless, but the egos were too big. Highly recommended.
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
really enjoyed the backstory to the tv series. Heard as an audio-book - the narration was well paced and appropriate to the text (narrated by the author).
Oct 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
I saw only one thing at the Melbourne Writers Festival - a session with Don Watson and Sarah Ferguson. Ironically I went because of Don Watson but left carrying Sarah Ferguson’s book (written with Patricia Drum). She opened the session by reading from it – a wonderful reading that detailed one of the filming sessions for The Killing Season. She has great presence, Sarah Ferguson and as soon as I heard her reading I knew I wanted to read her book. (It’s hard to create presence in The Edge space t ...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘The last week of Parliament: in politics they call it the killing season.’

I didn’t watch much of the ABC’s ‘The Killing Season’ on television. While I have great respect for Sarah Ferguson’s skill as a journalist, I have far less little faith in what either Mr Rudd or Ms Gillard would present as their respective version of the truth of the events that destroyed their governments. But when I became aware that a book was being published, a book with the uncut version of the series, then I knew I
The “Killing Season Uncut” is an interesting companion to the documentary it is based on. The 3-part doco is brilliant television - well-shot and edited with clarity and style. It creates suspense around the power machinations of federal Labor; no easy task when the outcome is so well known. Ferguson and Drum's book tells the story of the making of the documentary, recounting the reluctance of many participants, and the process of trying to persuade politicians to be personally revealing. Much o ...more
May 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Greatly enjoyed this gripping account of the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd years - a wonderful accompaniment to the television series of 2015. It attempted to provide some sort of "answer" to what went right and wrong in that tumultuous time. I came away feeling saddened for the state of politics - in all that happened it seemed that the Australian voters were totally side-lined and forgotten about - almost incidental within the greater context of leadership changes "for the greater good". What a brilliant ...more
Jun 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
On the surface, this book is an analysis of the Rudd/Gillard leadership struggle, but it is also a revelation of how the ABC created a narrative running through the documentary series. At times I wondered how much the truth was being told versus how much the ABC was fashioning their own narrative based around the various interviews. Of course, it matters political there probably isn't a single truth but as many truths as there are viewpoints. If you have an interest in Australian politics or thi ...more
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
What a read! I was left feeling more informed about the drama of making the acclaimed documentary series and slightly more sympathetic to Rudd and Gillard. The real tragedy of this whole saga is the lasting damage done to progressive politics in Australia and the missed opportunity that this duo could have accomplished together. Very hard to "pick a side" other than to imagine how destroyed the opposition would have been had Rudd and Gillard's energies been directed solely at Abbott and co.
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
As an accompaniment to the excellent political documentary of the same name this gives a detailed insider account of the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd years in Australia. Ferguson offers insight into maintaining journalistic integrity when everyone involved has their own truth and are quite distrusting of the media and each other. A great companion piece to the series and fantastic overview of this period for anyone interested in Australian politics.
David Watt
Aug 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As a political junkie fascinated by Australian Politics this book gives a brilliant account of what lead to the overthrow and comeback of Kevin Rudd over the 2007-2013 period. It also gives some great insights into the role of the journalist and their strategy in conducting these types of extensive interviews with politicians. Would highly recommend.
Apr 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I am pleased to say that the book is every bit as good as the series, which was compelling. In fact, some of the background details are actually more intriguing than the interviews themselves.

Sarah Ferguson is a brilliant journalist and her insights into the behind the scenes aspects of Australian politics are fascinating. Highly recommended.

Emily Webb
Sep 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Even if you've seen the ABC series, listening to this book provides fresh insights and behind-the-scenes information about the process of making the top-rating series. Sarah Ferguson narrates this and it's a gripping listen. Highly recommended, especially for those who are interested in politics but it's a great listen even if you are not a political beast.
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
I didn't watch the series but I was interested in the whole debacle that this leadership rubbish caused to the Labor party. This was very easy to read and provided insight into how the series was made.
May 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
An interesting sketch of both a turbulent time in Australian politics and the making of a TV series about it, but perhaps doesn't quite do either part full justice. Presents a balanced view of Rudd & Gillard without making any judgments
Jul 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Fascinating insight into a period of Australian political history.
Jonathon Holmes
Aug 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I am loving this! Insightful to the journalism process, but mainly just a high class "he said she said" argument. So much drama. I loved them both, but I'll always be a Kevin 07 fan. Good year.
Apr 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Was sorry when it ended ... didn't know all that much about Sarah Ferguson before the series (and obviously the book) but has a huge fan now.
Jeffrey Carpenter
I have been fascinated with the drama between Rudd and Gillard and this book presented one of the most detailed accounts of what was happening behind the scenes. I highly recommend it.
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Sarah Ferguson is an Australian journalist. She has worked for The Independent, the BBC and the ABC. She has presented on the ABC’s 7.30 and worked as a journalist on Four Corners. In 2015, she presented The Killing Season, a three-part documentary on the Rudd-Gillard government. In the same year, she wrote and presented Hitting Home, the landmark series on domestic violence.