Day, David: John Curtin

David Day

John Curtin: A Life, Harper Collins, Pymble, NSW, 1998; paperback edition 2006

Curtin played a part on the home front in World War I as an anti-conscription agitator, then led the nation as a war prime minister in World War II. Of all our prime ministers he perhaps found it most difficult to maintain distance from the important decisions he had to make. The job killed him, as it killed President Roosevelt and, in a different way, President Lincoln. While the book speculates unnecessarily about Curtin’s private life, it is an essential reference for Australian political history in the first half of the twentieth century, particularly during World War II. It is a better treatment than the much earlier book by Lloyd Ross. A short biography of Curtin is here.

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