Abjorensen, Norman: The manner of their going

Abjorensen, Norman

The Manner of Their Going: Prime Ministerial Exits from Lyne to Abbott, Australian Scholarly Publishing, North Melbourne, 2015

A study of the departures of all our prime ministers, from the one who was commissioned but never served (Lyne) to the one most recently leaving the job (Abbott).

Norman Abjorensen doesn’t shy from judgement in this meticulously researched, detailed and illuminating book on the last days of our leading politicians. Only one Prime Minister, Robert Menzies, has ever voluntarily departed politics for a graceful retirement, while three died in office; the remaining twenty-three were all forced from office in one way or another. Here, armed with the forensic skill of a surgeon and the insight of an expert observer, Dr Abjorensen picks apart the fatal flaws that contributed to their failure. (Nicholas Stuart, author of Rudd’s Way)

The book is reviewed for Honest History by Michael Piggott. Earlier versions of chapters of the book appeared on the Honest History (Lyne, Barton) and Inside Story (Abbott) websites and the author was interviewed. An extract on Fisher to mark the centenary of his going. An article on the same subject as Abjorensen’s by JR Nethercote, coincidentally with the same title (in the hard copy, at least). A review in Fairfax by Frank O’Shea, who describes the Rudd era in Labor in these memorable words: ‘it will make you wonder how a long-established political party could allow itself to be in thrall to a backwoods carpetbagger’. A related piece from George Megalogenis. A book on prime ministers (Strangio, Walter and t’Hart extracted, reviewed by Abjorensen.

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