Tales from the Political Trenches is an intimate account of one of the most tumultuous periods in Australian politics, as well as a tale of personal change.

After winning a spectacular victory against Prime Minister John Howard in 2007, McKew was one of the many casualties of the disastrous 2010 election campaign, when Labor was left clinging to the wreckage and forced into minority government. Still dealing with her own disappointments in a political career cut short by the machinations of her own party, McKew has spent the past year talking to her colleagues in an effort to understand what went wrong.

Maxine McKew counters the view that in 2010 Julia Gillard was a reluctant conscript who was forced to move against a chaotic and dysfunctional Kevin Rudd—and offers a different version of events. Says McKew “Rudd was removed by an impatient deputy backed by a group of individuals who see themselves as the ‘owners’ of the Labor party”.

Why is Labor now operating through the uncertainty of minority government and from a position of diminished trust? And why is our political culture so debauched? Tales from the Political Trenches is a must-read for those who have followed the events of the past few years and are still asking, ‘What the hell happened?’

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