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Confessions of a Serial Biographer is the story (or rather the stories) of a man who has mingled with celebrities since he was a teenage junior newspaper reporter. He has been involved with some of the iconic names of Hollywood and showbiz in general - people like Fred Astaire, Gregory Peck and Andre Previn, all of whom co-operated in his biographies. Then there was a wide spectrum that ranged from Morecambe and Wise to Ella Fitzgerald, to say nothing of Leonard Bernstein and Bob Hope. His most recent biography is a best-selling study of the life of Dean Martin, King of the Road. Here is an autobiography of a biographer of more than 30 books, who, while still at school, was captivated by the voice of a singer called Al Jolson. It is not just a story of smooth, friendly relations with his subjects. James Cagney sued him in the New York courts and Mr Peck tried to stop his book. Freedland won in both cases. But this is also the story of politicians like Harold Wilson, Alec Douglas Home ... and Tony Blair, to whom Michael Freedland gave some early media training. Not least of all, it is the tale of a radio programme called You Don't Have To Be Jewish, which after 23 years became the longest-running regional broadcast in Britain.
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