> Skip to content

An updated edition of the personal story behind the very public political face of Labor’s Anthony Albanese.

Anthony Albanese has been at the heart of Labor politics in Australia for a decade. For the previous decade he persistently worked to ensure that the Labor left was a vital part of all ALP activities. This is his story. The turbulent years of federal politics with a deeply personal dimension, this is the whole story of Anthony Albanese and the remarkable mother, Maryanne, who raised him.

Anthony learned his political craft among the tough men and women of NSW Labor, inheriting his mother’s devotion to social justice, the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the party his family had served for three generations.

ALBANESE: Telling it Straight reveals what shaped the bloke they call ‘Albo’, his climb through politics by playing hard, fast and sometimes loose and how as he and his colleagues wrestled with Labor’s future, he discovered his own past.

Now with additional material.


I think it’s almost impossible to overstate the influence of those early years on Albo.

Bob Hawke

He's put his hand up and been a great club man, and he has served his country with the same selfless passion.

Russell Crowe

Anthony Albanese got lucky with Karen Middleton, who has crafted an account of his life that is both gripping and moving – words not usually associated with the genre of political biography. Central to his story is the gutsy Maryanne Albanese, who raised him as a single mother in working-class Camperdown. Growing up in this staunchly Labor environment, Albanese went on to become a political firebrand at university and later found a father substitute in Tom Uren. But it is his belated search for his real father that makes Albanese an unexpected page-turner. While his personal story overshadows his political rise, it successfully elicits the reader's sympathy and respect.

Fiona Capp, The Sydney Morning Herald

Karen Middleton is a great journalist and tells the story beautifully.

Lisa Wilkinson, TODAY show

A fascinating read

Michelle Grattan, The Conversation

Middleton’s detailed evocation of the whole social milieu in which he grew up is itself an important contribution to our understanding of the contemporary political divide. Its strengths are in the portrayal of intersecting political and social worlds, and here it invites a revitalised debate about how the terms of the relationship between those worlds have changed over the past two generations.

Jane Goodall, Inside Story

A fascinating mixture of two stories.

Bob Hawke

Read More

Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    July 3, 2017

    Vintage Australia

    464 pages

    RRP $24.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    August 29, 2016

    Random House Australia

    464 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
    • iBooks
    • Google Play EBook AU
    • Kobo Ebook
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks


Anthony Albanese never knew his father growing up. For his success in politics and in life, he credits his mother, Maryanne, most.

Bad health since childhood had made life a battle for Maryanne Therese Albanese – born Mary Anne Therese Ellery – and her schooling had suffered. She was determined her son would have the best sort of life she could make for him, starting with a good education.

She also encouraged his interest in politics. Her devotion to the Labor Party, and her parents’ before her, meant he had little hope of escaping it.

From before she had even given birth, Maryanne had set her own direction by putting her son first in everything.

Continue Reading
DJ Albo in the House

Karen Middleton’s Albanese drops by the intersection of politics and music.

Book List
Political Lives

Stories of passion, policy and power, and life in the public eye.