‘John Curtin’s War: Vol 2 Triumph and decline’ is John Edwards’ magisterial biography of our greatest Prime Minister. Beginning where the first volume ended, with the fall of Singapore to the Japanese invader, this volume tells the full, fascinating story of the next four years as Australian Prime Minister John Curtin leads Australia in dealing with both its enemy and its new friend – America.
As Britain’s Winston Churchill abandons Australia and pursues a ‘Hitler first’ strategy, Curtin aligns himself with the charismatic, self-certain General Douglas MacArthur of the United States Allied Forces. Curtin and MacArthur fight to ensure that the War in the Pacific is an American priority.
As the critical battles of the Coral Sea and Midway decide Australia’s fate – and Kakoda creates a new legend – Curtin’s resolute calm and implacable determination lift him beyond party conflicts to become ‘Australia’s leader’. But the outward strength disguises deteriorating health, and increasing doubt about the American alliance. Curtin determined Australia’s future – but what would it have been had he lived?
Describing the sudden changes in Australia’s world which demanded a pivot away from the Empire and towards the US. Edwards locates the turning point in Australian history.
'John Curtin’s War: Vol 2' dwells also on the personality behind the man many regarded as a ‘reluctant politician’ – including his health issues, struggles to overcome alcohol abuse and private letters between Curtin and his beloved wife Elsie.
John Edwards is a Non-resident Fellow at the Lowy Institute and adjunct professor at the John Curtin Institute of Public Policy at Curtin University.
The author talk is followed by question time and the opportunity for book signing.
There is seating for 100 people and standing room is available.
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