Author Troy Bramston launches Penguin Random House book 'Bob Hawke: Demons and Destiny' at Sutherland Library

Biography: Caringbah author Troy Bramston will share insights into his latest book about Bob Hawke, at Sutherland Library on May 12.
Biography: Caringbah author Troy Bramston will share insights into his latest book about Bob Hawke, at Sutherland Library on May 12.

Caringbah author Troy Bramston will give insights into his latest biography that details the life of the late Bob Hawke, at Sutherland Library on May 12.

Titled 'Bob Hawke: Demons and Destiny', published by Penguin Random House, the book is the only biography Australia's 23rd Prime Minister agreed to cooperate on after his leadership ended.

It includes a series of interviews with Mr Bramston between 2017-2019, including the last one Mr Hawke gave before he died, plus access to an extensive trove of personal papers and historical documents.

The author spoke with more than 100 people who knew Mr Hawke, including his family and friends, political and union colleagues, rivals, advisors, public servants, journalists and Hawke's international contemporaries including George H.W. Bush, John Major and George Shultz.

Mr Bramston chronicles Mr Hawke's upbringing and education, the people and events that shaped him, his rise through the union movement, his personality and personal life and his post-prime ministerial life and legacy.

The former prime minister speaks of his successes and failures, and although he was on board the publication of the book, he asked for no control over the manuscript.

Mr Bramston also draws from previously confidential letters between Bill Hayden, then governor-general, and Buckingham Palace, diaries of Mr Hawke's Labor party peers, and newly accessed records from the archives of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Brian Mulroney.

A senior writer and columnist with The Australian newspaper and The Sunday Telegraph, the award-winning author has written a book about Robert Menzies. His biography of Paul Keating was a finalist for the Walkley Award, shortlisted for the National Biography Award and long-listed for the Australian Book Industry Award.

Mr Bramston first met Mr Hawke as a teenager.

"I was just 18 years old," he said. "It was 1994, at the Tradies Club Gymea. I approached him at a dinner, extended my hand and he looked deep into my eyes as he shook it. I became fascinated by him as a man and as a leader."

He said Mr Hawke was a "larger than life" figure who grappled with many demons but changed Australia and shaped the world.

"We have never had a prime minister who was more popular in the post-war era," he said. "I wanted to write a biography about the complete man, chronicling the highs and lows, triumphs and failures, capturing the light and shade.

"I devoured 100,000 newspaper articles and turned over one million pages of archival documents. I loved every minute of it."