In This Review

The PM Years
The PM Years
By Kevin Rudd
672 pp, Pan Macmillan Australia, 2018

In this hefty second volume of his autobiography, the two-time Australian prime minister settles scores with Julia Gillard, a fellow Labor Party politician who in 2010 ousted him in what Rudd calls a “cynical coup.” Their struggle propelled Australia toward the kind of poisonous politics that is afflicting so many democracies today. Besides Gillard and “the faceless men of the [Labor Party] factions,” Rudd blames his ouster on the Rupert Murdoch–owned media, which opposed his progressive policies, and on mining interests who he believes colluded with Gillard and her allies to prevent the imposition of a new tax. The book also details Rudd’s many accomplishments on issues such as Australia’s response to the 2008 financial crisis, climate change, indigenous affairs, infrastructure, same-sex relationships, and health care. Unusually for a political memoir, the book is unguardedly emotional. This, together with Rudd’s elephantine memory, brings the reader as close to the daily texture of life in politics as it is possible for an outsider to get.