Book launch | Unholy fury: Whitlam and Nixon at war



1 May 2015


Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Sydney

The Centre held a reception in the Sydney CBD to launch the book Unholy Fury: Whitlam And Nixon At War by Centre research associate James Curran. His book uses previously classified documents to reveal the inside story of just how close Australia came to losing the US alliance.

About the book

In the early 1970s, two titans of Australian and US politics, Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and President Richard Nixon, clashed over the end of the Vietnam War and the shape of a new Asia. A relationship that had endured the heights of the Cold War veered dangerously off course and seemed headed for destruction. Never before—or since—has the alliance sunk to such depths.

Drawing on sensational new evidence from once top-secret American and Australian records, this book portrays the bitter clash between these two leaders and their competing visions of the world.

As the Nixon White House went increasingly on the defensive in early 1973, reeling from the lethal drip of the Watergate revelations, the first Labor prime minister in twenty-three years looked to redefine the ANZUS treaty and Australia’s global stance. The result was a fractured alliance and an enraged US president, seemingly hell bent on tearing apart the fabric of a treaty that had become the first principle of Australian foreign policy.  


  • Professor James Curran
    Professor James Curran
    Professor of Modern History, University of Sydney

    James Curran was previously a Non-resident Senior Fellow at the United States Studies Centre. He is a Professor of Modern History at the University of Sydney, specialising in the history of Australian and American foreign relations. His most recent book, Unholy Fury: Whitlam and Nixon at War, is a study of the Australia-US Alliance from the signing of the ANZUS treaty in 1951 to the early days of the Hawke government.