Power without Glory
In the history of Australian literature few books have been more controversial than Frank Hardy's Power Without Glory. This is a tale of corruption stretching from street corner SP bookmaking to the most influential men in the land - and the terrible personal cost of the power such corruption brings. John West rose from a Melbourne slum to dominate Australian politics with bribery, brutality and fear. His attractive wife and their children turned away from him in horror. Friends dropped away. At the peak of his power, surrounded by bootlickers, West faced a hate-filled nation - and the terrible loneliness of his life. Was John West a real figure? For months during the post-war years, an Australian court heard evidence in a sensational libel action brought by businessman John Wren's wife. After a national uproar which rocked the very foundations of the Commonwealth, Frank Hardy was acquitted. This is the novel which provoked such intense uproar and debate across the nation. The questions it poses remain unanswered.
Frank Hardy was born in 1917 to a working-class Catholic family near Warrnambool, Victoria and left school at 13. He found his most formative education in the miseries of unemployment and poverty during the Great Depression. Having joined the army in 1940, one of Hardy's sergeants is reported to have said: 'If you write down some the stories you tell on beer nights you'd make a fortune.' The rest is history. A communist since the age of 17, a pot stirring advocate of worker's rights and Aboriginal welfare, a dedicated punter, Frank Hardy picked a winner when he discovered he could write. His novels and plays include Power Without Glory, his first novel, The Hard Way, The Four Legged Lottery, The Yarns of Billy Borker, The Unlucky Australians, The Outcasts of Foolparah, But The Dead Are Many, Who Shot George Kirkland, Mary Lives, Faces in the Street and Great Australian Legends. He died in 1994, aged 76, with a form guide in his lap.