Roth, Andrew (1919-2010) journalist and political satirist
ADMININSTRATIVE/BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY: Andrew Roth was born in New York in April, 1919, to Jewish-Hungarian parents. He went on to study Far Eastern History and Chinese at Columbia University, pursuing his interest in the politics and development of the Far East. He went on to work as a researcher for the Institute of Pacific Relations before completing an intensive Japanese language course at Harvard at the behest of the UN Navy. Roth completed his enlistment after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, working as a Naval Intelligence Officer specialising in Japanese translations and code breaking. Before the end of his Navy career he was tried for pro-communist sympathies and leaking Naval documents to the Left-wing Amerasia Magazine, but was released without conviction.
After the War Roth successfully published his first book, titled ‘Dilemma in Japan’, in 1945. He then left America and travelled extensively across Europe, the Middle East and the Far East, acting as a roving correspondent for The Nation Magazine, a left-leaning US publication. He also worked as a freelance journalist for various US and Canadian publications, as well as most of the major newspapers of Asia, including The Hindu, India; The Pakistan Times; The Palestine Post; and The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon syndicate. Writing on topical issues and the post-war political developments of the Far East, Roth worked with and wrote about most of the major political and journalistic figures of the time.
The McCarthy anti-communist trials of the late 1940s prompted Roth to postpone returning to America, and he instead settled in England in 1950, remaining there until his death. He continued his journalistic outpourings, working predominantly for The Manchester Evening News (1972-1984), The New Statesman (1984-1997), and contributing regularly to The Guardian’s obituaries section. He continued to write for other foreign newspapers and magazines, and received regular speaking engagements to talk about his political views and experiences in post-war Asia. The focus of Roth’s work shifted towards European political research, resulting in the ‘Parliamentary Profiles’ series of political biographies, published from 1955 onwards. He also published seven books relating to various political figures, and created the weekly Westminster Confidential newsletter.
Roth died on 12 August 2010 of prostate cancer, aged 91.
SCOPE AND CONTENT: Personal papers and working papers of Andrew Roth, including:
- Naval records and discharge papers (c.1941-1945);
- copies of his regular family newsletter of the late 1940s titled ‘The Gripes of Roth’, and other personal correspondence to family and friends.
- detailed business correspondence between Roth and the multiple agencies, syndicates and publications he wrote for during his travels in Europe and the Far East covering topics such as publication of articles, payments and contractual arrangements (c.1945-1960).
- copies and draft versions of Roth’s articles and publications, concerning predominantly political and economic subjects related to the Far East and America, and the rise of Communism in Asia; photographs from Roth’s travels around Europe and Asia (c.1946-c.1950).