Critics’ Reviews

This book will appeal more to Wran’s fans than his critics but it is a timely overview of the way that his leadership shaped New South Wales and how his style changed the way politics was played across the country. As someone who found Wran to be a charismatic and visionary politician, despite the inevitable missteps of his government, I found this book revealing, insightful and a reminder of what can be achieved when governments think it is important to strengthening the social fabric of our community, when idealism is married with pragmatism. – National Indigenous Times, 27 July 2006

While much of the material on Wran’s achievements and style will be familiar to students of politics, it has not been presented previously in such a comprehensive collection. What makes this volume unique is that contributors sometimes provide stimulating insights or provide genuine ‘inside dope’ on the politics within the Wran Governments … By gathering writers of diverse backgrounds, each producing largely original material, the editor has ensured a healthy range of perspectives … The volume provides excellent material for reflection and further research and so deserves to stand as an important addition to the historical record … If aspiring leaders manage to study only one premier or prime minister, Wran should be the one. – Tony Smith, Australian Review of Public Affairs, 18 June 2006

Thirty years after Balmain-born Neville Wran led the NSW Labor party to victory in May 1976, with a one-seat majority, it seems timely to reflect upon the performance of his governments. For the decade Wran was in power he transformed state politics in New South Wales … The three highlights in this eclectic collection come from Rodney Cavalier, Graham Freudenberg and Stephen Loosley. – Ross Fitzgerald, The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 June 2006

The collective contributions in this book suggest there is room for a re-evaluation of the Wran record … this book provides insights into an absorbing period in politics. – Mike Steketee, The Australian, 3 June 2006

It’s a must-have for anyone interested in politics. – Stan Denham, The Daily Telegraph, 20 May 2006

If there were a Neville Wran anywhere in Australian Labor politics today, you can bet he would be on a fast, sealed train to Canberra. "Nifty" was no also-ran, and, on the 30th anniversary of his coming, this collection of essays, reminiscences and reflections celebrates the decade that belonged to the master of "razzle dazzle".

It’s almost worth buying just to read Graham Freudenberg’s astute and evocative assessment of Wran’s key attribute – that he was the "voice" of Sydney.

As other commentators point out, including editor Troy Bramston, Wran was also the one who kept the flag of Labor flying in the darkest days after the Whitlam sacking when even some insiders thought the party might not survive. Divided into four sections – style, management, policy and assessment – it brings together a list of commentators that includes Laurie Brereton, Pat O’Shane, Dennis Shanahan, Andrew Clark and others. – Steven Carroll, The Age, 20 May 2006

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