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About the book
  • Published: 1 July 2008
  • ISBN: 9781741667615
  • Imprint: Vintage Australia
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 672
  • RRP: $19.99

Power Without Glory


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In the history of Australian literature few books have been so 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…

  • Pub date: 1 July 2008
  • ISBN: 9781741667615
  • Imprint: Vintage Australia
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 672
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

Frank Hardy

Frank Hardy was born in Southern Cross, Victoria, in 1917, the son of a milk factory worker. Leaving school at thirteen he worked in a variety of jobs: messenger and news boy, grocer’s assistant, fruit and vegetable picker, factory worker and illustrator. His writing career began at the age of twenty-seven with the publication of short stories in Trade Union journals.

In August, 1950 he published Power Without Glory; two months later he was arrested, jailed and charged with criminal libel. The Hard Way was written to tell of his arrest, trial and subsequent acquittal.

Hardy was a driving force behind the Realist Writers Movement, becoming President of the Melbourne Group in 1946 and later forming groups in other cities.

In 1952, with the late George Seelaf, he formed the left-wing publishing house, The Book Society, which arose out of the interest in literature in the Labor Movement inspired by the Power Without Glory defence campaign.

Among Frank Hardy’s many published works are novels such as But the Dead Are Many, Who Shot George Kirland? and The Outcasts of Foolgarah; collections of short stories including Legends from Benson’s Valley and Great Australian Legends and a book about Aborigines based on personal travels and experience, The Unlucky Australians. His stage plays include Leap Seven Times in the Air and Faces in the Street. His The Yarns of Billy Borker appeared as a series on ABC television in 1966; Power Without Glory as a serial in 1975.

Frank Hardy died in 1994.


Praise for Power Without Glory

“ 'The book is grossly libelous of our clients.”

“'We have been consulted by Mr and Mrs John Wren and members of their family, and we note that you are selling copies of the book Power Without Glory by Frank Hardy.”

“Mr Galbally, Counsel for the Prosecution against Frank Hardy as quoted by DAILY TELEGRAPH 1950”


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