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Boris: The Rise of Boris Johnson Paperback – 29 Mar 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd; 2nd edition (29 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857207385
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857207388
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 119,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'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

From the Inside Flap

When Andrew Gimson rang Boris Johnson and asked to write his
life, Boris laughed for a long time before replying, 'Such is my colossal
vanity that I have no intention of trying to forbid you.'

In this age of unmemorable politicians, Boris stands out as a beacon of
hope. He cracks jokes. He makes gaffes. He loves women, cars and bicycling.
He wants to be Prime Minister, but can a man seen as a clown ever get to
the top?

This witty portrait, written with an affectionate yet critical eye, tells
the astonishing story of the Boris phenomenon. It traces his exotic Turkish
ancestry, his discovery of the art of performance from his father Stanley,
his prodigious education, his forgotten first marriage, his comical sacking
from his first job on The Times newspaper, his anarchic brilliance as the
Telegraph's man in Brussels, his editorship of the Spectator during the
David Blunkett affair and the Liverpool fiasco, his travails when the
tabloids exposed his affairs, his dismissal from the Tory front bench by
Michael Howard and return under David Cameron.

In BORIS, Andrew Gimson has created a wonderfully vivid, touching and funny
picture of the only Tory to be famous for himself rather than because of
the offices he held. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Helen Sawyer on 25 Mar. 2008
Format: Paperback
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 By Anonymous on 8 Oct. 2006
Format: Hardcover
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 By S. A. Richmond on 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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Format: Hardcover
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 By G. J. Weeks on 25 Jun. 2007
Format: Paperback
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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