Book Review: Remembering Bob by Sue Pieters-Hawke

Remembering Bob…

About the Book:

A warm, moving and revealing collection of stories and memories about Bob Hawke from across the nation, edited by his eldest daughter

Bob Hawke’s death in May 2019 sparked national mourning across the country as we remembered just how important Bob had been in the shaping of modern Australia. In an age when political personas have become increasingly formulaic and predictable, Bob was a man of glorious contradictions. He was a Rhodes Scholar who also had a deep affinity and understanding for mainstream Australia. He was a passionate ACTU officer and president who also knew how to work with big business. He loved his sport, a drink and a bet, yet was also deeply intellectual in his approach to policy. In an age when our respect for politicians has never been lower, we respected Bob. The huge public outpouring of grief after his death showed that we loved him too.

Remembering Bob, instigated and edited by Bob’s eldest daughter, Sue Pieters-Hawke, is a collection of stories and memories about Bob by his friends, colleagues, old political foes, and ordinary Australians whose paths crossed that of their everyman Prime Minister. They are by turns funny, serious, warm, illuminating and inspiring, and, taken together, they offer a true reflection of the extraordinary person he was, and what he meant to us all.

A royalty on every copy sold will go to The Exodus Foundation, one of Bob Hawke’s favourite charities.

My Thoughts:

‘He is the green card in your pocket. He is the superannuation you will retire with. He is the architect of so much of what is Australia today. His invisible fingerprints are all around us. And we are a better country for it.’ – The Hon. Jason Clare MP.

‘He was also the bold architect of some of our most significant reforms, especially when it comes to our responsibility to our society’s most marginalised.’ – Catia Malaquias.

Remembering Bob is a book for those who want to do exactly that: remember Bob. This is not a biography that ‘tells all’, nor is it a comprehensive memoir. It’s a rather simple book that is made up of a collection of memories about Bob Hawke, told in their own words by a variety of people who either knew him, encountered his generosity, or have benefited from his legacy. I enjoyed it immensely, particularly the submissions from those who knew him in the later years. A few even made me shed a tear. Sue Pieters-Hawke explains the intent of this book as such:

‘Circumstance maybe render this remembrance ‘unbalanced’, not necessarily because of rose-coloured glasses, but from the desire to preserve the best of someone we have loved and whose memory we honour in this telling of his life. This book focuses on the positive – and my god, there was so much positive to focus on!’ – Sue Pieters-Hawke.

If you’re looking for a book that exposes secrets, dishes out dirt, rakes over the past and points fingers, then this is not the book for you. If instead, you want to take a look at the life of a truly great man through the eyes of others, then add this book to your summer reading list. What a wonderful thing to have done in memory of a father who also meant so much to a nation. Well done Sue Pieters-Hawke. Very well done.

‘The essence of power is the knowledge that what you do is going to have an effect, not just an immediate but perhaps a lifelong effect, on the happiness and wellbeing of millions of people, and so I think the essence of power is to be conscious of what it can mean for others.’ – Bob Hawke.


Thanks extended to Allen & Unwin for providing me with a copy of Remembering Bob for review.

About the Author:

Sue Pieters-Hawke is Bob Hawke’s eldest daughter. She’s the author of two previous bestselling books: Hazel’s Journey: A personal experience of Alzheimer’s (2004), and Hazel: My Mother’s Story (2011).

Remembering Bob
Published by Allen & Unwin
Released 20th November 2019

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