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National Observer Home > No. 54 - Spring 2002 > Book Reviews


Book Review: Keeper of the Faith: A Biography of Jim Cairns,

by Paul Strango

Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2002, pages 395 and index, $49.

Dr. Paul Strango is a research fellow at Monash University.

It will be recalled that Dr. Jim Cairns was one of the most left-wing and ideological members of the Whitlam Government. He was appointed as Treasurer in 1974, but removed from this office in mid-1975, to the relief of the general community. He became regarded increasingly as an eccentric doctrinaire, and in his latter years was to be seen attempting to sell copies of his writings at the entrance to the Prahran Market, in Melbourne.

Keeper of the Faith may be regarded more as hagiography than a dispassionate biography. The author has written as one who is very much an admirer of many aspects of his subject, and his book should not be purchased by those who seek a definitive and objective account of Cairns.

R.M. Pearce


National Observer No. 54 - Spring 2002