Jasper Godwin Ridley was known for historical biographies. He received the 1970 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his biography Lord Palmerston.
Ridley was educated at Magdalen College, Oxford and also at the Sorbonne. He trained and practiced as a barrister before starting to write. During WWII, he was a conscientious objector and was, by his own account, violently abused while in a detention camp.
He served on St Pancras Borough Council from 1945-49, and stood, unsuccessfully, as Labour Party candidate for Winchester in 1955.