OF A BLEEDING HEART:
In January 1992,
less than a month after Paul Keating became Prime Minister, Don Watson
was employed as his speechwriter.
Based on notes
Watson kept through the four turbulent and exhausting years he spent with
Keating, Recollections of a Bleeding Heart is a frank, revealing and engrossing
portrait of this brilliant and perplexing man, and a unique reflection
on modern politics, government and Australia itself.
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 loved Paris, Mahler and Second Empire clocks.
Paul Keating did become Prime Minister. In December 1991 he wrested it from Bob Hawke and the bruises from that struggle were part of the baggage he brought to the job: the other parts included the worst recession in 60 years and an electorate determined to make him pay for it.
the odds and won the 1993 election, and in his four years as Prime Minister
set Australia on a new course - towards engagement with Asia, a republic,
reconciliation, a social democracy built on a modern export-based economy
and sophisticated public systems of education and training, health and
Widely regarded as a quintessential economic rationalist, Keating's record clearly shows that his vision was infinitely broader and more complex.
HEARTS, an ultraconservative view of the ultraliberals, as those whose
"hearts have bled for the poor", who are "suckers"
for every "sob story", and who place tax burdens on all in a
mistaken effort to cure social ills. 'The liberal who is so labelled considers
the one who calls him a "bleeding heart" to be reactionary.'
'We are the
entrepreneurs of political life and are the people who dream the big dreams
and do the big things. There are no bigger dreamers than in our office.
It's a mixture of econocrats and bleeding hearts.'
Don Watson has written on Australian history, culture and politics
for more than twenty-five years.
Born in Warragul,
Victoria in 1949, he attended school in Gippsland and took degrees at
La Trobe and Monash universities.
For media review
copies of the book, interviews with Don Watson, extract sales, and front
jacket images, please contact,
is a natural writer with the ability to reduce a complex idea to eight words
that are understood by all and, as a bonus, carry a lilt.
It is the story of four tumultuous years told by an intelligent and curious insider, and no one has ever done it better".
Les Carlyon, The Bulletin
insider's account yet published of Australian politics'.
"..a classic: an insider's account of the working of the political process, with its paranoia, its envies, its fevered inconsequentiality, its joys, crammed with wisdom and a lovely detachment.' Evan Williams, Sydney Morning Herald
the portrait of Keating that ...is surely the book's triumph... It is
impossible to leave Recollections of a Bleeding Heart without more
to come it will be ranked with some of thegreat political biographies
of the past 100 years....A great work of political anthropology."
readable, witty and sometimes bizarre".