Power Trip shows the making of Kevin Rudd, prime minister. In Eumundi, where Rudd was born, David Marr investigates the formative tragedy of his life: the death of his father and what came after. He tracks the transformation of a dreamy kid into an implacably determined youth, already set on the prime ministership. He examines Rudd’s years as Wayne Goss’s right-hand man in Queensland, his relentless work in federal Opposition – from Sunrise to AWB – and finally his record as prime minister.
In Rudd’s Queensland years, Marr finds strange patterns that will recur: a tendency to chaos, a mania for control and a strange mix of heady ambition and retreat. All through this dazzling and revelatory essay, Marr seeks to know what drives an extraordinarily driven man. As Power Trip concludes, he enters into a conversation with the prime minister in which much becomes clear.
Correspondence discussing Quarterly Essay 38, Power Trip: