25 NOVEMBER 1932, Page 6

Mr. J. L. Garvin's Life of Chamberlain, amply heralded, is

to appear on Tuesday, the third of a notable trio of starters to reach the post. Some ten years ago three distinguished journalists embarked more or less simul- taneously on three political biographies. Mr. Garvin began on Chamberlain, Mr. J. A. Spender on Campbell- Bannerman and Mr. A. G. Gardiner on Harcourt. The Harcourt and the C.-B. ran pretty even, and both biographies appeared in 1923. The Chamberlain has been a more protracted toil, for its author has been deeply involved with the Encyclopedia Britannica and other labours, to say nothing of the Observer, and as it is we are to have only the first quarter of a million words or so. (The recent Asquith biography ran, I believe, to about 330,000). As Mr. Garvin can clearly not finish in less tlum four volumes, and may well go to five, he will hardly be able to keep on the right side—or what most People would call the right side—of a million. It is generous measure for Joseph Chamberlain. Life to-day is a little short for biography on that majestic scale.