'Alan Reid was the Paul Kelly of his day and the Labor Split in the 1950s was probably the most far-reaching convulsion in Australian politics.
– Hon Tony Abbott, from the Foreword
'The Bandar-Log: A Labor Story of the 1950s is a fictionalised recreation of the great Labor split of the 1950s. This schism in Labor’s ranks began in October 1954 when its erratic federal party leader Dr H.V. (“Doc”) Evatt denounced the perceived influence wielded over the party by the anti-communist Catholic activist B.A. (“Bob”) Santamaria. The resulting donnybrook involved personality clashes as well as ideological conflict. The messy saga featured a diverse array of participants including Catholic churchmen, trade union bosses, state premiers, state and federal Labor politicians and assorted commentators and journalists. The characters appearing in The Bandar-Log mirror, with varying degrees of faithfulness, these actual participants in the Labor split.
– Ross Fitzgerald and Stephen Holt, from the Introduction
'The picture of politics and politicians that emerges from The Bandar-Log: A Labor Story of the 1950s is extraordinarily bleak. There is no room for principle. The whole business is irredeemably filthy and disgusting—a sewer. As Reid sees it, people involved in politics cannot help but be corrupt. Even those who begin with high principles are inevitably corroded and eaten away.' (Abstract from edited 2015 edition)