This contested legacy, together with the fact that Williams had always made aspects of his own life and background central to both his political vision and his intellectual identity, meant that any attempt to write his biography was bound to be a more than usually delicate project. Shortly after her husband’s death, Joy Williams entrusted the task to the Welsh historian Dai Smith, who had known (and greatly admired) Williams in the last decade or so of his life, and who shared many of his political allegiances. Smith was given unrestricted access to Williams’s papers; as, in effect, the authorised biographer, he was also able to draw on information from and interviews with a wide range of Williams’s family and friends.
Reviewed by the LRB
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