Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Andrew Roth

Andrew Roth, author of Parliamentary Profiles, died last month at the age of 91. For half a century his books have been a treasure trove for political hacks writing about MPs. Roth left no stone unturned in the chronicling of a career - everything from acts of indiscreet youthful rebellion, forgotten attacks on colleagues on late-night talk shows, business links, to scandals were all there in the tightly packed prose.

Compiled from a library of press cuttings, the New York born journalist added his own pithy, and often very funny, characterisations. An early description of Margaret Thatcher was as a "diamond-hard Rightist suburban feminist, cold-water English rose", while Jim Callaghan, her Labour Party rival, was "avuncular, cocky, tetchy, shrewd, cunning, teetotal."

As well as compiling the guides, Roth had a 12-year spell as political correspondent or the Manchester Evening News and 13 years with the New Statesman. From 1996 he contributed obituaries to the Guardian.

Now that he has sadly died, the question is what happens to the great man's cuttings library? He had been trying to sell it but as many journalists now get their information electronically through the likes of LexisNexis or Factiva, not to mention blogs etc, it's value wasn't quite what it would have been a couple of decades ago. That said, it's still of great historical value and it is to be hoped that it finds a home at a university.

More information here and here.

1 comment:

  1. I am his grand daughter Melissa. His works have found a place at the bishopsgate institute.