This is an intimate biography of Margaret Whitlam - clear-eyed, unsentimental, witty and poignant.
“I came to represent all the ungainly people, the too-tall ones, the too-fat ones and the housebound as I had been, who’d never get the chance to go to China or Buckingham Palace and experienced it all through me” - Margaret Whitlam
Margaret Whitlam was in the public eye for over forty years. As the controversial wife of a prime minister she became a household name and an Australian identity in her own right. Many people felt as if they knew her and they did, in a sense. However this biography reveals, for the first time, the private life behind the public events to which she was both a witness and a participant.
Susan Mitchell first interviewed Margaret Whitlam for her book The Matriarchs, after which they became friends. She reveals what lies behind the descriptions of 'icon' and 'national treasure'. She was given access to Margaret's collection of private papers, press cuttings and diaries, and she shares insights from these as she documents Margaret's journey from a semi-detached in Bondi to the Lodge, from her husband's accession to Prime Minister to his dismissal, and all the full years beyond.
We travel with Margaret as she grows from a schoolgirl to university student, social worker, wife, mother, political partner, First Lady and international tour leader. We observe the events and the relationships that shaped her, and the family that sustained her. We learn why she became one of the most admired and beloved of Australian women.
Susan Mitchell's wonderfully evoked personal portrait will move you to both tears and laughter.