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Boris: The Rise of Boris Johnson [Kindle Edition]

Andrew Gimson
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Book Description

A fully updated edition of Gimson's 2006 biography, with new material covering Boris's years as Mayor of London. His distinctive appearance ('Like a haystack on a bicycle'), befuddled manner and ready wit have assured a high media profile and a large fanbase with the general public. In 2008 he was elected Mayor of London with over 1 million votes, the largest personal mandate of any UK politician.
In this, the first and most authoritative biography of Boris, Andrew Gimson investigates Boris' twin-faced dilemma - politics or entertainment - and asks how deep his political ambition runs. Boris has transcended his class, education and his various occupations (Mayor of London, Conservative MP for Henley-on-Thames, Conservative spokesman for Higher Education, columnist on the Daily Telegraph, motoring correspondent for GQ, novelist, TV presenter) to become a paradoxical character - the old Etonian who fascinates teenagers as well as grandparents, the classical scholar who is also a TV quiz-show contestant. Despite being a comic actor of genius, he is not just an act and Andrew Gimson's biography covers all facets of this complex individual. There is his exotic Turkish ancestry, his place among five siblings, his competitive relationship with his father Stanley, the distinguished university career, his five years as a journalist in Brussels, his first failed venture into politics ('I fought Clwyd South - and Clwyd South fought back'), overseeing the Spectator during the David Blunkett affair and the Liverpool editorial fiasco which led to Boris' sacking from the shadow cabinet, his exile and return under David Cameron, his two marriages, four children and love affairs. Interviewing Boris' contemporaries, his family and his detractors, Andrew Gimson has created a fascinating and amusing portrait of this unique man of our times.

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'Full of jokes and witty observations, this is a well-paced biography which leaves you wanting to know more' --Independent on Sunday

'A scintillating eulogy' --Telegraph Review

'Gales of laughter rip through every chapter' --Guardian

'Fascinating' --The Spectator

`Beautifully written' --Observer

`Reading Andrew Gimson's affectionate portrait of the Tories' biggest celebrity feels a bit like gambolling through a summer meadow in your underpants - daft, a little risqué and great fun... Boris is a national treasure, and Gimson has done him proud' --Sunday Times

`It is all rubbish from start to finish - but well-written rubbish' --Boris Johnson

`The scariest thing I've read since Silence of the Lambs' --Ken Livingstone

'A chatty, revelatory portrait of the blond crusader that pulls no punches' --Scotsman

'There are enough Jilly Cooper-style japes to make Boris the jolliest biog in ages' --Evening Standard

Jonathan Bouquet, Observer

'Beautifully written . . . The author admits to being a friend,
but pulls no punches'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2397 KB
  • Print Length: 381 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0857207385
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (29 Mar. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007HHLST6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #204,944 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More a hagiography than a serious critique 25 Mar. 2008
Reads like a fan-letter - not surprising, given the author is a good friend of the subject - hardly ideal for a biographer. Manages to capture the charm and entertainment value of Boris Johnson, but when portraying the other side - the ambition, egocentrism and affairs, - seeks only to see things from Boris' point of view.

If you like Boris, you'll like this book, but it's not a serious biography (to be fair to Gimson, Johnson hasn't really done anything yet to justify a serious biography) or nearly critical enough
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read for fans of modern political life 8 Oct. 2006
For anyone who's interested in Boris Johnson, or even the British Conservative Party, this is a great book. It's a fantastically fun read, full of interesting facts and insight into Britain's most colorful Tory politician. I particularly liked the book because it doesn't try too hard. Unlike some 500-page biographical monsters, which read like a PhD history theses, "Boris" doesn't cover ever nook and cranny of its subject's life. We get the main points - family history, childhood, school, journalism, jokes, affairs - told in Andrew Gimson's very readable and unpretentious writing.

The book's short but not superficial. Gimson knows Boris well. They worked together on the Spectator magazine and Gimson is friends with a lot of the main players in Boris's life. It shows. There are several revelations. More importantly, Gimson shows great psychological insight. Boris comes across as an extremely intelligent, well-educated and energetic man - who adopts an amusing but slightly ridiculous joke-persona to cover up for a complete lack of discipline.

I finished the book rather liking Boris, and amazed he's gotten as far as he has. He really can be a prat. Some of the best stories include: how he had to leave the Times for making up a quote; the exaggeration in his Brussels coverage for the Telegraph; the fact he didn't write the anti-Liverpool Spectator editorial which he was crucified, and who did; that he saw his mistress Petronella Wyatt after breaking off their affair.

The only reason I haven't given this book five stars is because I think the top rating should be reserved for the very best books. If you'ld like to know what life is like for the conservative media and political establishment, this book is a fun place to start.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amusing 21 Aug. 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was good in the end. When I started reading it I thought it was going to be horribly sycophantic, and the author's rose-tinted view of his mate. It wasn't, and the analysis seems pretty believable (apart from the Boris being PM bit).

I was attracted to this book because Boris is an entertaining character, but clearly has a serious side. I think he can do well in journalism and politics, but I have a funny suspicion that it could unravel the more senior he becomes. Simply refusing to engage with awkward questions, to me, seems to be a major flaw that people will get tired of.

He's an amusing character, and the world of politics and journalism would be much poorer without him.

Well done to the author for getting something out there, as curiosity is bound to rise over the next year.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Making of London's Mayor 12 July 2012
Boris Johnson's life already provides enough material for several biographies, which is fortunate as there'll likely be several written, probably including one by himself eventually. Andrew Gimson's has the advantage and the drawback of being the first.

What's clear is that Boris makes for an excellent subject - the book's packed with amusing (and occasionally head-slapping) anecdotes of the man. At a time when many politicians are terrified of appearing different, Boris has gone to the other extreme and prospered there, though not without incident along the way. Indeed, a less energetic, big-hearted and at times shambolic individual couldn't have survived what Boris has surmounted.

Little dates as quickly as a biography of a man or woman on the up. Inevitably, if their greatest achievements are still to come, those events will not be in it; if the subject's already passed their peak, the book merely becomes a study of wasted talent. In this case, the biography, begun in 2004 and completed in 2006, leaves Boris in a state of limbo - overtaken by Cameron in the leadership stakes but before he finds his considerable niche as mayor of London.

All histories, including biographies, tend to be influenced by the fact that the reader and the author knows something that the actors in the book didn't: what comes next. One reason that it's an interesting and potentially valuable book is precisely because Gimson didn't and couldn't know that. Any newer biography would undoubtedly pay more attention to David Cameron having been a near contemporary at Eton and Oxford, and less to scandals that didn't turn out to be as significant as thought at the time.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not really Mr.Nice Guy 25 Jun. 2007
Boris Johnson is an enigma. One watches him on have I Got News For You and wonders is this man for real? Is it all a big act? Andrew Gimson writes well and gives us the answers. He knows this funny eccentric man very well. He shows us a brilliant scholar and journalist, a man who wants to be liked and is admired by many. It also shows an extremely ambitious politician whose one really dominating principle seems to be the promotion of Boris. He has not treated the women in his life with respect nor has he kept promises to others. Could he ever be entrusted with the leadership of his party? I think not. An entertaining informative book about an amazing man.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars I only read this book because I find Boris Johnson quite funny and a...
To be honest, I only read this book because I find Boris Johnson quite funny and a bit of a joke and I was hoping that I could learn something more endearing about him. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Florence Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A good read.
Published 8 months ago by Mr Anthony Northen
4.0 out of 5 stars insight
Interesting insight to humour and perspectives . Lacked a little structure as two historical periods were cobbled together, needs an editorial re look, but a solid read, grubs and... Read more
Published 13 months ago by steve
3.0 out of 5 stars Boris by Andrew Gimson
This book is disappointing, you have to wade through loads of characters to get to Boris and what he thinks. Read more
Published 22 months ago by rachel
3.0 out of 5 stars Some Interesting facts, but lacking otherwsise.
This is going to be a short review.
The subject matter is very interesting but this cannot be the best book about Boris out there, hence why I've given it 3 stars. Read more
Published 23 months ago by vjones7
4.0 out of 5 stars A good summer read
An easy read, by a well informed author, who is not afraid to tell things as they are. I recommend this book.
Published on 20 Jun. 2013 by Miss Caroline M Hamilton
5.0 out of 5 stars Could not fail to please
An extremely well written and very perceptive book. Even though the subject provides many opportunities for a send-up, Andrew Gimson has produced both a serious and yet charming... Read more
Published on 4 Nov. 2012 by The Lady Morris
5.0 out of 5 stars Boris - predictable in his unpredictability
Finished this biography which I found amusing and informative, giving a more rounded view of Boris and making him more humane than he otherwise appears: spontaneous, refreshing,... Read more
Published on 17 Jan. 2012 by Constantin ROMAN
5.0 out of 5 stars Minimal waffle and maximum impact.
I really enjoyed this book. It provides a fascinating insight into Boris Johnson's background and upbringing. Read more
Published on 13 Feb. 2010 by Billie
3.0 out of 5 stars Neither Comedy Nor Tragedy
Boris Johnson is often described as "privileged". This is true notwithstanding the fact that he in fact was not born into heavy wealth, despite attending both Eton and Oxford. Read more
Published on 4 Aug. 2009 by Ian Millard
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