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The biographer’s tale

In 1994 I asked Roy Jenkins if I could write his biography. By the time he finally agreed, three years later, he was about to embark on his Churchill biography and I was about to start working for Tony Blair. I became witness to a fascinating friendship across the generations between two politicians

By Andrew Adonis   September 2004

Roy Jenkins’s Asquith was my first political biography. I read it, stuck in boarding school at the age of 15, during the winter of discontent. I remember the sense of excitement and awe as the story unfolded, and my admiration in equal measure for Asquith himself and Jenkins the statesman-biographer. I recall the date because I reached the last chapter and Asquith’s condemnation of the general strike, his last political act, just as the campaign of strikes and union intimidation paralysed Britain in the spring of 1979. It seemed to me at the time that the winter of discontent marked…

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