“Stuart is far more comprehensive, thorough and balanced than Macklin on Rudd's political life. His is, after all, a “political biography…
“He also provides a much more nuanced account of Rudd's role in the machinations of the Labor party in this troubled period in the party's history, and has a better grasp of the factional architecture of the party. His analysis of how Rudd and Julia Gillard stymied each other's ambitions, allowing Beazley an unopposed succession when Latham's leadership imploded in early 2005, is acute and engrossing, as is his examination of how, when the two young rivals came together in late 2006, Beazley's ailing leadership was doomed.”
Australian Book Review
“Stuart's book…goes a long way to filling the information gap and, for this reason, is essential reading for students of current Australian politics.”
“…deprived of the easy route, Stuart has worked harder than Macklin and done more digging. Stuart's warts-and-all study makes Rudd a much more interesting and well-rounded figure, and is likely to do him more good.”
Laurie Oakes, Bulletin
“I found Stuart’s book quite fascinating to read. It’s well written, well researched, and sensitive not only to its subject but also to the truth.”
“…a terrific read. It's a comprehensive examination of the making of this key player in Australian political life, and no matter which side of politics you're on you'll enjoy it.”
“…Stuart—no doubt untethered by the fact that Rudd steadfastly refused to co-operate with him, while offering every support to Macklin—covers the events without varnish or judgment…It's no wonder that the only news stories that have emerged from the books have come from Stuart's—the role played by NSW state secretary Mark Arbib in Rudd's ascension, for instance, and the claims that Rudd's multimillionaire wife, Therese Rein, helped bankroll her husband's political career.
In the end, Macklin's lengthy puff piece is little more than a Rudd-authored Boy's Own version of his life. Stuart's is the one I'll be keeping on the shelf.”
Kerry-Anne Walsh, Sun Herald
“The author doggedly pursued the Labor leader for an interview for six months. Finally, half an hour after after Stuart had hit the button to send his final chapter to the publisher, Rudd's office phoned to agree to an interview.
This is the defining difference between the two books. One, Macklin's, is a faithful recounting of Rudd's own version of events; the other, Stuart's, depends on good research and fair-minded analysis. One is happy-clapping; the other is a serious attempt at a biography within the inevitable constraint that it chronicles a life half-lived.”
Peter Hartcher, Sydney Morning Herald
“…Nick Stuart had no access and no interview…and others were discouraged from speaking to him. He has had to make greater use of the public record and the comments of people, some unwilling to be named, who have worked with Rudd.”
Jack Waterford, The Canberra Times
“…Nicholas Stuart’s book embeds the story of Rudd’s ascent in a broader account of the personal and political conflicts that hamstrung Labor in opposition. Stuart has spoken to Rudd’s admirers as well as his critics, and has assiduously mined the material on the public record, including Rudd’s own speeches and writings.
In Stuart’s own words, his book is not a “demolition job” but a serious attempt to understand Rudd and discover what has shaped his personality, his philosophy and his career.”
Jenny Lee, The University of Melbourne Voice
“[Stuart]…was rudely jilted. There is less bliss but more analysis and healthy cynicism in Stuart's book.”