The autobiography of one of the towering figures of twentieth-century British politics.
A Life at the Centre is the absorbing story of a man who combined a wide social and literary milieu with a political panache that nearly made him Prime Minister. Roy Jenkins led a life of variety and drama, from Enigma ciphers in the Second World War to the Chancellorship of Oxford University. After putting his liberalising stamp on the 1960s as a reforming Home Secretary, he earned a lasting reputation as a determined and successful Chancellor of the Exchequer in atmosphere of crisis.
Jenkins was regarded as Harold Wilson's heir, but he became increasingly disillusioned by the leftward drift of the Labour Party, and resigned both his deputy leadership and his seat in Parliament. He became President of the European Commission, and on his return from Brussels helped to launch the Social Democratic Party, returning to Parliament as the member for Glasgow Hillhead. He later went on to the House of Lords, where he was leader of the Liberal Democrats, and thence back to Oxford. He died in 2003.
Despite his demanding political career, Lord Jenkins found the time to write many major biographies, such as those on Attlee, Balfour, Dilke, Asquith, Truman, Baldwin, Gladstone and Churchill, and was widely known and respected as a statesman, politician and man of letters.