Lee, David: John Curtin

David Lee

John Curtin, Connor Court, Brisbane, 2022 (Australian Biographical Monographs 16)

Acclaimed by many as Australia’s greatest prime minister, John Curtin overcame alcoholism and a troubled relationship with the Scullin Labour Government to win the Labor leadership by one vote in October 1935. Rescuing the Labor Party from division and humiliating defeats in 1931 and 1934, he put it in a position to win in the years after 1937. A constructive wartime Leader of the Opposition, he engineered the creation of an Advisory War Council to help minority Coalition and Labor governments manage a divided House of Representatives.

From October 1941 he steered his wartime Labor Government through perhaps the greatest strategic challenge that Australia has ever faced. In doing so, he led Labor to one of its most emphatic electoral victories in 1943 and put his party in a position to enshrine long-held aspirations such as national control of banking and provision for a welfare state. His death in July 1945 was met with a national outpouring of grief that underlined the extent to which Curtin had been recognised as a national leader above party. (blurb)

The book is reviewed for Honest History by Michael Piggott. The author writes about the book. John Curtin Research Centre Facebook page. Jack Waterford in Pearls and Irritations. For other resources about Curtin on the Honest History site, use our Search engine with search term ‘Curtin’. See especially our review of John Edwards’ two volumes, John Curtin’s War.


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