Mon | Nov 19, 2018

New biography reveals many moods of Manley

Published:Sunday | June 12, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Michael Manley: The Biography (Cover )

Ian Randle Publishers recently announced that they will publish a biography of Michael Manley by acclaimed author, Godfrey Smith, in July 2016.

Drawing on Manley's own letters to and from close confidants (Rex Nettleford and others); author interviews with more than 30 persons in Jamaica, Cuba, the United States and the United Kingdom, Canada, Trinidad and Barbados; countless hours of intense and extensive research and review of footage of Manley's speeches, press conferences, official visits, and writings, Smith provides fresh, revealing insights into one of the most charismatic personalities in the modern political history of the Caribbean. Access to and use of declassified US State Department documents, in particular, adds a completely new dimension to the Manley story and the dynamics of US-Jamaica relations in the turbulent years of the 1970s and the '80s.

With his signature strong narration and fluid writing, Smith presents a detailed, yet engaging exploration of Michael Manley's life and career. From his relationships with his parents, his children, and with women, to his trade union and political careers and the bitter antipathy with political rivals, no aspect of Manley's life is left unexamined.

"Having previously had the experience of successfully publishing a biography by Smith, we had little doubt that his work on Manley would be equally, if not more accomplished," said Christine Randle, managing director, Ian Randle Publishers. Smith is also the author of George Price: A Life Revealed - The Authorized Biography, which won the non-fiction category of the 2012 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. Randle added that, "Manley was such a complex man, evoking passionate feelings, to this day, of both adoration and hatred, but now that the world is experiencing a new leaning towards democratic socialism and a pushback against neoliberalism, this biography is timely, particularly for younger readers, to judge whether Manley was a post-Independence revolutionary or a socialist dreamer."

'Thoroughly researched, balanced in its judgement, and written in an engaging, uncluttered style ... this long overdue biography will be required reading on Manley and the definitive first pillar against which later works will be measured.'

- H. Orlando Patterson, John Cowles Professor of Sociology, Harvard

'Smith adds a fascinating new dimension to Manley as he reveals not just the unionist and politician, the international progressive visionary, and prolific writer, but also the inner man.'

- Rachel Manley, author of Drumblair: Memories of a Jamaican Childhood and Slipstream: A Daughter Remembers

'At last the biography of Michael Manley that we have been waiting for. Godfrey Smith blends the person and the politics, the ideology and the passion, evoking brilliantly one of the greatest leaders that Jamaica, the Caribbean and what we used to call the Third World has ever seen. He reveals many Michael Manleys, all of them portrayed with subtlety and verve.'

- Anthony Payne, University of Sheffield, UK

Godfrey Smith served variously as Belize's Foreign Minister, Attorney General and Tourism Minister during the years 1999-2008. He is the author of the highly acclaimed biography, George Price: A Life Revealed, which won the Bocas Literary Prize for the best work of non-fiction in 2012. Smith lives in Belize where he practises law, in between writing.

Ian Randle Publishers is a leader in the field of Caribbean academic and general interest publishing. Twenty-five years in the business, the company publishes titles in Caribbean history, politics, art and culture across printed and electronic formats. For more information, visit