Bookshop Reviews

Roy Jenkins

By John Campbell

Recommended by: Dulwich Books

Bookshop name Dulwich Books
recommendation Roy Jenkins was probably the best Prime Minister Britain never had. But though he never reached 10 Downing Street, he left a more enduring mark on British society than most of those who did. His career spans the full half-century from Attlee to Tony Blair during which he helped transform almost every area of national life and politics. I absolutely loved this book, although an immense book which has got to be the most complete biography of someone who has had a major influence on our lives. It is brilliantly researched, in-depth detail, backed up by facts. Campbell has produced a well written, engaging and highly readable biography that kept pulling me back to find out more. Jenkins, it was hard to believe was born the son of a Welsh miner and his father was a TUC member first, then an MP and he basically followed in his father’s footstep. More tory tradition than labour. Jenkins had all the behaviour of an only child, a total belief in himself but an immensely intelligent man. His decisions have probably changed our world, like SDP or supporting the Heath government to enter the EU. John Campbell does Jenkins proud in listing out in great detail and brilliant argument his achievements. He achieved more in his parliamentary career then many longer termers could even dream of. The homoerotic quality of the relationship between Jenkins and Crosland is perfectly portrayed. His period at the Home Office brought a series of reforms to the laws concerning homosexuality, divorce, abortion and race relations that changed the nature of Britain almost overnight. These are wonderfully explained. He even led Labour MP’s who then helped Heath take the UK into Europe. For a person who never made PM he made a massive difference to our lives and Campbell’s research into his daily Westminster life is excellent. Brilliant and very readable biography of a man who has influenced our lives, brings Jenkins to life and for a “foreigner” I found this a truly fascinating and enjoyable read. Sheila O’Reilly