This is a story of Muldoon in action. It is an insider's view of one of New Zealand's most dramatic leaders and his use and abuse of power. As a member of all three of Muldoon's cabinets for the nine years from 1975 to 1984, Hugh Templeton sketches a strong and vivid portrait of this dominating prime minister seen at close hand. The book shows Muldoon's rise to power and the dramatic stump campaign of 1975, the Muldoon 'circus', which gave him the prime-ministership. It tells how he chose his cabinet, implemented his election trump card, the National Superannuation scheme, and reformed the broadcasting system. Other chapters describe the untangling of the Tasman Forests debacle, the savagery of the very unconstitutional 'Moyle affair' and the facing down of Comalco's Don Hibberd. The focus gradually shifts from the reform of the economy to the crisis of the oil shock and efforts to counterbalance its pressures by establishing a free trade arrangement with Australia and a 'Think Big' strategy to ensure self-sufficiency in energy. The crisis of the coup and countercoup of 1980 signals both the immense resilience of this master politician under pressure and his gradual degeneration under the constant burden of power. The Springbok tour of 1981 and the price freeze of 1982 illustrate his intense determination to cling to power at any cost, a determination that did not however prevent his calling the disastrous snap election of 1984. Illustrations, ports.