The famously volatile, impatient and very smart Gareth Evans has become the latest former Labor government minister to write a book about the Hawke-Keating era.
It's a much furrowed field, not least because theirs were largely successful governments that accommodated big egos, big hatreds and big ideas.
Evans, who with Ralph Willis was the only person to hold cabinet rank continuously throughout the 13 years, gives much of the flavour with characteristic verve.
However, Inside The Hawke Keating Government: A Cabinet Diary, published on Monday by Melbourne University Press, is less than its title suggests.
It starts on September 24, 1984, just after Evans' bid to move from the Senate to the lower house was thwarted by a factional fix and a few days before he was moved, involuntarily, from his prized position of attorney-general.
The diary's last entry is October 22, 1986, the day High Court justice and Labor lion Lionel Murphy died.
So it covers just over two of the 13 years, almost all of this time when Evans was resources and energy minister. Foreign affairs, the portfolio that really made him, was still two years away.
But the two years he covers were eventful, encompassing the start of the Hawke-Keating rivalry, the "banana republic" tax debates, the eruption over the MX missile tests, the rescue of the North-West Shelf oil and gas project, the beginning of a serious debate about Aboriginal land rights, and the Lionel Murphy affair.
Murphy gets lots of attention - too much, perhaps, for today's readers. But this is a diary, it's how it seemed to a passionate participant nearly 30 years ago.
And passionate he was. Evans tells of future Federal Court judge Rod Madgwick blaming him for the Murphy trial.
"I responded to this with an absolutely explosive and almost uncontrollable burst of anger, barely able to stop myself punching him in the face," Evans writes.
For historians, particularly of Hawke's leadership style, there's nothing more revelatory than Evans' long description of being moved from the role of attorney-general where he had become the Biggles of Franklin Dam spy flights.
This followed a meeting started when Evans turned up at The Lodge at 10.30am on a Saturday where Hawke was sunning himself by the pool.
It went on for hours, with Evans being given plenty of time to explain why he should stay. Hawke made counterpoints, to which Evans responded.
Evans couldn't complain about the hearing he was given. But ultimately there was no budging Hawke, although he was prepared to make concessions over Evans' new position.
The new attorney-general was Lionel Bowen, who died in 2012. Bowen was a generally popular minister. Evans is scathing. A sample, from a cabinet meeting: Bowen was "being his usual conservatively incomprehensible self".
John Button, his Senate leader, who died in 2008, suffered at the hands of Evans scalpel. He had a "flair for avoiding anything of any sensitivity or difficulty".
Another victim was Kim Beazley. In a cabinet discussion on land rights, he was "in a condition of noisy panic" over the looming political difficulties in Western Australia.
And then there was Chris Hurford. The then immigration minister distinguished himself at a Canberra restaurant "by demolishing a plate of roast duck, then complaining vigorously about its toughness, ensuring not only a discount on the bill but half a bottle of Grandfather Port by way of compensation".
Evans generally admires Keating, especially the "withering blast" he delivered to the North-West Shelf moguls. The general theme: they'd known about their money problem for years and now, despite all their private enterprise protestations, wanted the federal government to bail them out, "so that they can lick bowls of cream into the hereafter".
In January 1985 Evans records Keating's ambivalence about his ambitions, saying he could just as well make "squillions" and talk about antiques. Evans half-believes him.
But soon there are intimations of the coming toxic rivalry.
In November 1985 there's a vitriolic exchange in a cabinet committee meeting, with Keating telling his PM "You were f..king wrong and you'll live to regret it." Evans says both were pale and tense, and almost shaking with anger.
The Liberals scarcely exist in the diary. But Evans is prescient when he says then opposition leader Andrew Peacock is totally insubstantial, with no long-term future, while John Howard is much tougher and more able.
And just to show some things never go away, Evans briefly records cabinet selecting Badgerys Creek as the site for the second Sydney Airport.
That was February 17, 1986.