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Lazarus Rising: A Personal and Political Autobiography Hardcover – 23 Nov 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 711 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (23 Nov. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0732289955
  • ISBN-13: 978-0732289959
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,598,966 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

John Howard is a Lecturer in American studies at King's College, University of London. He is the editor of "Carryin' On in the Lesbian and Gay South" and "The Bitterweed Path,"

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've always been fascinated by political biographies and have an entire bookshelf dedicated to the genre. Autobiographies can be particularly difficult because they run the risk of being either self-justifying or exercises in name dropping. But that cannot be said of this autobiography. Even before encountering this book I was possessed of a high opinion of John Howard which sky rocketed even further as I made my way through the text. It has been a long time since I last read a political autobiography where the author is possessed of a clear vision of what he/she was wanting to achieve in office but also demonstrates a depth of humility concerning his own character and his relationships with others. This makes John Howard a profoundly attractive character and the sheer quality of the writing held my interest from the first page all the way to the last.

Though Australia is a long way from the UK (where this review is being written) our politicians, especially so-called Conservative politicians would learn a great deal about what a principled conservative position looks like. Australia is in a vastly better position in the world today because of the policies put in place by the Howard Government. I agree with a previous reviewer that it is probably still too soon for a fully dispassionate account of the Howard years to be written, but I suspect history will be very kind to him and he will go down as one of Australia's greatest Prime Ministers and a flag bearer for all that is good about fiscal and social conservatism.
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Format: Hardcover
John Winston Howard, born 26 July 1939, was the 25th Prime Minister of Australia. John Howard was elected to the Australian Parliament in 1974 as the member for Bennelong. He held this seat until December 2007. During his long parliamentary career, he served as Treasurer (in the Fraser Government) from 1977 to 1983, and was leader of the Opposition from 1985 to 1989, and then from 1995. Mr Howard served as Prime Minister from 11 March 1996 to 3 December 2007, and was the second longest serving Australian Prime Minister (after Sir Robert Menzies). Mr Howard also lost his own parliamentary seat in 2007: becoming the second Australian Prime Minister to do so.

Mr Howard's autobiography spans his life from his childhood in suburban Sydney through to his government's defeat in 2007. He tells us of the events and circumstances that influenced and motivated him and shaped his leadership.

The Howard Government presided over a period of strong economic growth in Australia. During this period, the Howard Government introduced strong gun control measures (after the Port Arthur massacre in April 1996) and undertook taxation and industrial relations reform.

This is an account of both John Howard's 33 year political career and of a changing Australia during this period. It's easy to read and while interpretations will differ about the stance taken on some issues, or the relative importance of others it is interesting to see what John Howard regarded as important, and why.

This is not a complete account of the Howard Government: it is still too close to the end of that government, and an objective assessment requires other more detached perspectives.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Best Prime Minister of a generation. Could be seen as better than Menzies in another decade. A great read about a great man.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x91f60ef4) out of 5 stars 23 reviews
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91f73bc4) out of 5 stars `Compromise is a necessary political tool, but conviction is the matter of success in politics.' 12 Dec. 2010
By Jennifer Cameron-Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
John Winston Howard, born 26 July 1939, was the 25th Prime Minister of Australia. John Howard was elected to the Australian Parliament in 1974 as the member for Bennelong. He held this seat until December 2007. During his long parliamentary career, he served as Treasurer (in the Fraser Government) from 1977 to 1983, and was leader of the Opposition from 1985 to 1989, and then from 1995. Mr Howard served as Prime Minister from 11 March 1996 to 3 December 2007, and was the second longest serving Australian Prime Minister (after Sir Robert Menzies). Mr Howard also lost his own parliamentary seat in 2007: becoming the second Australian Prime Minister to do so.

Mr Howard's autobiography spans his life from his childhood in suburban Sydney through to his government's defeat in 2007. He tells us of the events and circumstances that influenced and motivated him and shaped his leadership.

The Howard Government presided over a period of strong economic growth in Australia. During this period, the Howard Government introduced strong gun control measures (after the Port Arthur massacre in April 1996) and undertook taxation and industrial relations reform.

This is an account of both John Howard's 33 year political career and of a changing Australia during this period. It's easy to read and while interpretations will differ about the stance taken on some issues, or the relative importance of others it is interesting to see what John Howard regarded as important, and why.

This is not a complete account of the Howard Government: it is still too close to the end of that government, and an objective assessment requires other more detached perspectives.
But by looking at John Howard's own account of what he set out to achieve and why, we can decide how beneficial we believe those achievements were, and whether we are comfortable with all or some of the Howard legacy.

`Politics is always about today's reality, not that great realm of what might have been.'

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91f73c18) out of 5 stars Newfound respect for our former PM 21 Sept. 2012
By PaulS - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Obviously nobody writes a bad autobiography about themselves.
So one should always take any such work with a grain of salt.

I found myself disagreeing with some of Mr Howard's positions, just as I did
while he was in office.

But I WILL say that it makes a fascinating read to hear the perspective
of a man who was at the center of 11 pivotal years in Australia's history.

You many not agree with Mr Howard or even like him terribly much but
after reading this book you may at least respect that his motivations
were well intended and his vision of Australia remarkably appealing.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x94a63774) out of 5 stars One of the best Australian political books out there. 16 Aug. 2014
By H. Jin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: MP3 CD
'Lazarus Rising' is one of, if not the, best Australian political books out there. Offering a personal perspective on John Howard's long and interesting political career, including over a decade as Prime Minister, the book would be valuable enough to political pundits even if it was a dull bore. But in fact Howard has a highly engaging writing style, and generally positive approach to politics that elevates this book above its peers and broadens its appeal. It's no accident that 'Lazarus' has ended up being one of Australia's best selling political memoirs.

The book is organised into several parts, covering the different periods of Howard's political career; the Fraser Government, Opposition, Howard's tenure as Prime Minister, and some Afterwords. It's sometimes forgotten that Howard had been in politics for 20 years before becoming Prime Minister, experiencing some significant highs and lows along the way, and 'Lazarus' does a good job of chronicling Howard's earlier years.

The first part of the book covers Howard's frontbench career under PM Malcolm Fraser, which as Howard tell it is basically an exercise in frustration punctuated by minor achievements. He rose rapidly to Treasurer under Fraser, but became increasingly disenchanted with Fraser's unwillingness to seriously engage in economic reform. This section basically supports the perception of Fraser's tenure as "The Wasted Years", with Howard portraying Fraser as a man of strong political convictions but lacking courage to act on them. Howard does note some of Fraser's unappreciated accomplishments, however, and his overall assessment of Fraser is relatively positive, especially in the context of Fraser's latter-day attacks on him.

The next section covers Howard's time in Opposition, including a brief and unsuccessful period as Opposition Leader. If anything, this is an even greater exercise in frustration, as one self-inflicted wound after another condemns the conservatives to 13 years in the wilderness: the Howard/Peacock rivalry, the mad "Joh For Canberra" campaign, and implosions of both John Hewson and Alexander Downer. As Howard tells it, his first stint as Opposition Leader occurred almost by accident, and he never really had a chance leading a divided party. Although hopeful of a second shot at the leadership, his hopes fade as the party turns to new blood, only to finally turn back to him in desperation as Last Man Standing. This section does a good job in describing the restlessness and impotence of Opposition, which often manifests as internal party bickering. Howard also notes that as Opposition Leader, he voted with the government on principle rather than oppose for opposition's sake. He directs a few jabs at the Labor Party for not reciprocating this during his own time in government.

Obviously, the bulk of 'Lazarus' is firmly focussed on Howard's tenure as Prime Minister, with around two-thirds of the book covering this decade. Chapters in are organised by policy area, so this section is not strictly chronological, but allows the reader to flick to a specific chapter if they wish. For many readers, the interest may be on the more controversial aspects of Howard's tenure; such as immigration, the Iraq War, and industrial relations (especially Workchoices). But the book also covers many lesser-appreciated aspects of Howard's tenure; including financial and welfare reform, and increasing engagement with Asia. Other chapters cover Howard's love of sports, his relationship with the media, and engagement with ordinary people. Like most conservative politicians, Howard was much more popular with Joe Average than with the political/media elite, and his ability to directly connect via talkback radio and presence at sporting events was a significant factor in his political success.

Later editions include an Epilogue of sorts, where Howard gives his opinions the then-current political climate (2012-3). There is not much new here really; it was obvious that the Gillard Labor government was unpopular and would likely be defeated, and that the people would elect a "clear majority" after the experiment with minority government. Howard clearly does not rate Kevin Rudd, whom he perceives as a shallow flake, and seems to see some of himself in then Opposition Leader (now PM) Tony Abbott.

Perhaps because he never expected a second chance to become Prime Minister, Howard displays very little bitterness, regret, or "we wuz robbed" sulking throughout the book. Having gone from Has-been into Hero, Howard clearly does not need to waste time navel-gazing or finger-pointing. He is grateful for his opportunities and proud of his achievements, and is able to calmly and matter-of-factly engage and address his critics. He also has the ability to express his ideas in a clear, easy-to-read way, without becoming bogged down in policy detail or bureaucrat-speak. This gives the book a remarkably positive and engaging feel, in contrast to the moaning and groaning that clutters up many other political memoirs. Maybe only when discussing Peter Costello does Howard allow some rancour to creep in. As he tells it, Howard would have preferred an orderly leadership transition during his final term, allowing him to retire on his own terms with his head held high. You do get a strong sense of frustration and regret that Costello's ham-fisted attempts at challenging for the leadership forced Howard's hand.

In all, this is a great political book and also a great read. Obviously your opinion of a political book may be coloured by your political preferences, but Howard's writing style helps him set out clearly what he stood for and why. Even if you don't agree with all his positions, you at least are given no doubt as to why Howard believes what he does.

Recommended. Five stars.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91f73ea0) out of 5 stars Lazarus Rising 19 Nov. 2012
By tikiris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
John Howard is a long standing Australian politician and former Prime Minister and I anticipated his memoirs would be a most interesting account of his life and political experiences. His book Lazarus Rising has not disappointed. It is well written, most interesting and very easy to follow to the extent that it is hard to put down. It gives an amazing insight into the political life of Australia going back many years.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91f73cd8) out of 5 stars Conviction Politician 20 July 2013
By Mulch - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this book because, whilst I didn't agree with everything he did, I admired John Howard. After reading it I was more impressed. The concept of a conviction politician is something I took away from this book. If you have an accurate compass, steadfast values and the guts to see it through it seems you can achieve a great deal.
A good read and very enlightening.
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