This fluently written and intelligently argued book is written for a wide audience. This is a rich political biography, which carefully maps the social and political contexts out of which Curtin emerged to become leader of the Labor Party and then Prime Minister. Edwards carefully recreates the climate of fear and uncertainty that increased in intensity as the international outlook became increasingly fragile, especially in late 1941. In early 1942, Curtin, like most Australians, came to view invasion no longer as a possibility but rather as a probability. This book is not a mere biography of Curtin, as Edwards demonstrates that his actions and achievements can only be understood within the tangled web of national politics and international events. The book maps the quickly changing relations with Britain and the United States, as Curtin determined that national security depended on alliance with America. The culmination of 30 years of research and reflection, this book constitutes a major contribution to our understanding of the history of a major Australian political figure, Australian political culture, and of the nation's continuing quest for full independence.