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at the turning point, my political life with David Lange, Margaret Pope

At The Turning Point -
My Political Life with David Lange

Author Margaret Pope

A truly historic document and an essential companion to David Lange’s best-selling autobiography My Life (published by Penguin in 2005)

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Listen to interview on Radio New Zealand, 10 am, 16 September (39 minutes) See main page for other interviews.

The old model of politics was smashed in the 1980s and a new one took shape in circumstances that are still debated today. Margaret Pope, who was Prime Minister David Lange’s speechwriter and later his wife, writes an eyewitness account of the turbulent 1980s and the brilliant, elusive figure at their political centre.

At The Turning Point throws new light on the policy and personalities of the fourth Labour government. It describes the diplomatic struggles behind the government’s adoption of a nuclear free policy and its breach with the United States. It examines the origins of Labour’s revolutionary economic policy and the strain imposed by its adoption, and illuminates the increasingly bitter contest between Lange and his finance minister Roger Douglas.

Pope went to work in parliament in 1982. She wanted to see politics unfiltered by journalism and unpolished by history. She was a perceptive observer of the most turbulent period in modern New Zealand politics and writes compellingly about the hopes, battles and betrayals of the 1980s. She is candid about her personal stake in events, weaving into the narrative her affair with David Lange and painting a unique portrait of an exceptionally gifted politician whose career was a lightning rod for controversy.

The author recalls a government that was met with acclaim on its election in 1984. “The government took power with high hopes. It had many able, talented and well-meaning individuals in its ranks, yet it ended despised and discredited in 1990. After a quarter of a century there is still room for argument about what happened: why and how Labour took a radical turn to the right in government, why it did so well in its first term and so badly in its second, why the champions of the revolution turned on each other and what exactly they were fighting about … This is how I saw it.”

ISBN 978-0-473-19025-5
GENRE Political history, non-fiction, autobiographical
PUBLICATION DATE 19 September 2011
FORMAT Paperback, indexed
No. PAGES 318
DIMENSIONS 204 x 136 x 25 mm
WEIGHT 395 g
RRP $39.99


“I’m glad Margaret has decided to fill some of the silence David left when he wrote less about her than he wanted to. That she has done it with such clarity, wit and wry insight is both a tribute to her subject and a very valuable contribution to our understanding of the recent political past.”
~ Finlay Macdonald, broadcaster and reviewer, former editor of The Listener and commissioning editor for Penguin Books

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