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Ilanbey's biography is an insightful analysis of Daniel Andrews, Premier of Victoria. In this gripping cliffhanger, she takes a penetrating look at the personality and policy-making style of a politician who has been both demonised and idolised.

An insightful analysis of the nerdy politician written for the political nerd.

Why publish a book about a premier months before an election? This gripping cliff-hanger, written by Melbourne journalist Sumeyya Ilanbey, might be her way of saying ‘I told you so’. Or maybe she is waiting for final proof of her thesis that all the public wants is to have its individual interests addressed – health, education and transport.

Ilanbey has forensically distilled the rise and rise of Dan Andrews from Dan Who?, a dorky political from the Socialist Left, into a combative, narcissistic ruler.

She introduces the young man and his influences, and shows how his personality and temperament frame his policy-making and leadership style.

She covers the crises that have dogged his premiership since 2014: poor management of the pandemic (losing a minister and two departmental secretaries over hotel quarantine), firefighters, and gang violence; delayed and over-budget infrastructure projects; his thwarted Chinese Belt and Road Initiative; losing 4 ministers to an anti-corruption enquiry and misuse of public money.

We read about his aggression, relentless bullying and bulldozing, his capacity to freeze Cabinet and caucus members, his skill at avoiding questions and deflecting blame and responsibility. Yet this seems to have little impact on his staunch supporter base, who remain happy while their needs are being met. Illanbey argues political machinations play no role in the majority’s voting decisions.

What will his legacy be? The great progressive leader and communicator, a decisive visionary, a man of action and purposeful reformer, whose social agenda of infrastructure and services transformed Victoria, or a ferocious and ruthless factional warlord who made poor decisions, leaving the state in deep debt and deficit?

We’ll have to wait, alongside Illanbey, for the November results when Victorians judge the man who has been both demonised and idolised.