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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What lies beneath
It's always disturbing to learn about the murkier side of any politician's life but this time it's also hilarious and fabulously shocking. Intellect has no doubt propelled Boris a long way but it's his blind, ruthless ambition that really comes through in the book.
Published on 3 Oct 2011 by Brackenbury Buzz

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3.0 out of 5 stars Just Boris
Just Boris.A Tale of Ambition.

An inside view to his young life, a thoroughly good read for a minimal cost,
Published 16 months ago by keithdop K Dop


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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What lies beneath, 3 Oct 2011
This review is from: Just Boris: The Irresistible Rise of a Political Celebrity (Hardcover)
It's always disturbing to learn about the murkier side of any politician's life but this time it's also hilarious and fabulously shocking. Intellect has no doubt propelled Boris a long way but it's his blind, ruthless ambition that really comes through in the book.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boris uncovered, 28 Oct 2011
This review is from: Just Boris: The Irresistible Rise of a Political Celebrity (Hardcover)
The cult of personality is alive and well and living, not just in North Korea, but also in central London. 'Just Boris' illuminates a driven, complex, contradictory personality who is well on the way to conquering a great many more of us with well-practised smoke and mirrors. Sonia Purnell's forensic examination of the man would would be PM reveals, with humour and considered analysis, something of the real man behind the engaging clown Boris Johnson would have us believe he is. If only Johnson believed in himself, he might have made it. Purnell tracks the rise of a man who has had an astonishingly privileged bike ride through the corridors of power. For all of her revelations, Purnell is as intrigued as the rest of us by one of the most engaging yet baffling politicians in decades. An excellent read.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for all London voters, 3 Oct 2011
By 
C. L. James - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Just Boris: The Irresistible Rise of a Political Celebrity (Hardcover)
I'll confess, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Labour voter and was aghast when Boris Johnson beat Ken Livingstone to become Mayor of London in 2008. Indeed, I bought this book precisely because I wanted to arm myself with evidence to help sway those of my friends considering voting for Boris again in 2012. And there's certainly much for anti-BoJo types to quote from here. In particular stories about his 'part-time' approach to the mayoralty, some alarming allegations from a former Met officer about political interference in London's policing, and revelations about quite how much the 'Boris Bikes' and other so-called 'vanity projects' are likely to cost Londoners.

That all said, I can't say the book is overtly hostile to Boris. If I was forced to guess, I'd say Sonia Purnell probably voted for him. There's a certain quality of admiration in her writing. At the very least, she's genuinely fascinated by Boris and her depiction of him as the most cunning, charismatic and complicated character in British life today is hard to deny.

Which is probably why, despite myself, I found the Boris presented by this book so entertaining. His isn't the dull story of uninterrupted privilege and career politics that Purnell seems to believe David Cameron has enjoyed - although that's not to say Boris isn't privileged. There's much wit, roguish behaviour, and just plain bad behaviour to be enjoyed here. And some of that behaviour is so bad you could be forgiven for wondering, 'How can he ever have become an MP, let alone Mayor after that?' But, as Purnell argues convincingly, his carefully crafted public persona - Boris the Buffoon - acts as a Teflon shield that allows him to get away with it.

Personally, I could have done with less about Boris's supposed philandering and sexual appetites (if the French disqualified men from public office on the grounds of sexual infidelity there'd be very few left to run the country!). However, that's still a relatively small part of a big, very thorough book which should be essential reading for anyone who professes to care about London - whether you love Boris, or loathe him.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic analysis of Britain's best-known politician, 22 Dec 2011
This review is from: Just Boris: The Irresistible Rise of a Political Celebrity (Hardcover)
Outwardly, Boris Johnson seems like one of Britain's least-subtle politicians - brash, blustering and always aware of his own abilities.
What Sonia Purnell's biography makes clear is that there is significantly more to Boris than would appear from his hyperactive TV appearances.
Purnell paints Boris as a complex figure, whose startling self-confidence is at times offset by deep character flaws: selfishness, a seeming inability to forge intimate relationships, recklessness and occasional moments of startling bad judgement.
Purnell has clearly spoken to people who know the man well and has provided a valuable look into his formative years.
The sections on his early career in journalism - from Brussels with the Telegraph to his time at the helm of The Spectator - are particularly interesting. Purnell has interviewed countless Boris confidantes and detractors who provide a well-rounded look at the Mayor.
The tone of the book suits its subject - stentorian at points, knowledgeable, but light and heaped with lashings of mocking poison.
Laced with anecdotes, the book provides new insights into the country's most famous politician in every chapter.
One memorable scene in the section on Johnson's 2008 Mayoral campaign has his election supremo threatening violence in a well-heeled restaurant.
Things get more serious when the book reaches Boris's first term as London Mayor. Purnell has found people willing to spear Johnson for perceived failings in the way he has run London. At times the picture painted of City Hall under Boris is as ramshackle as the man himself.
Although Johnson's womanising may be tried and tested ground, there are enough new elements to keep those sections interesting - though other chapters contain the real revelations.
Just Boris is written with elan and, like the best biographies, is a rollicking good read that fizzes as it switches from admiration of Boris, to borderline contempt.
The book will have - if he's had the temerity to read it - made very uncomfortable reading for the Mayor, and that can only be a good thing.
With an election against Ken Livingstone to fight and the Olympics, 2012 will undoubtedly be very Boris-centric. For those wishing to prepare themselves for the Johnson onslaught by getting a measure of the man, there is no better way that racing through a copy of Just Boris.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just Brilliant, 6 May 2012
This is a splendidly written biographical account of the rise and rise of Boris Johnson which from start to finish managed to keep me captivated and if anything vindicated my pre-existing opinions on the subject. It would be fair to say that Sonia Purnell comes across as neither disinterested nor enamoured about her subject and there does seem to be a certain amount of antipathy towards Boris apparent at various points in her account, however it is far from an outright and unsympathetic hatchet job and Ms. Purnell is certainly not the first (and wont be the last) person to write a biography about a person whose fanclub she/he does not belong to.
The book seems to have been well researched and is pretty much bang up to date; but what is done so well is the wit with which she writes- something that Boris Johnson himself- in editor mode- could indeed be proud of.
If you want to know more about the background of this fascinating character who despite a seeming propensity for horrendous and well documented foot in mouth gaffes still seems able to bestride the world (or at least The Thames) with his other foot like a colossus - then this is the book to read.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authoritative, 18 Dec 2011
This review is from: Just Boris: The Irresistible Rise of a Political Celebrity (Hardcover)
Just Boris is an entertaining and enjoyable read. Supplying the reader with information on Boris that most probably never knew (Boris' real name is actually Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson) I was engaged from the start. Just Boris characterises Boris as cunning and charismatic - and the author admires and criticises her subject with a judicial eye.

Sonia Purnell's research is extensive, her writing style accessible.

Just Boris is authoritive and, if updated, will prove the definitive book on its subject for years to come.

Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Just Boris' Brilliantly, 28 Feb 2012
This review is from: Just Boris: The Irresistible Rise of a Political Celebrity (Hardcover)
Really, really enjoyed this book. Purnell writes so extremely well with such verve and energy. I'm usually biography phobic as I find them so dense with far too much extraneous detail. But 'Being Boris' was a brilliant read and entertaining. Whew and thank-the lord. A writer who can be rigorous but make it fun. Thank-you from this reader.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading, 3 Oct 2011
This review is from: Just Boris: The Irresistible Rise of a Political Celebrity (Hardcover)
Having had a sneak preview of this new biography of Boris, I can confirm it is as entertaining - and as exuberant - as its subject. I understand Sonia Purnell was a colleague of Boris's when they both worked in Brussels for the Daily Telegraph, so much of the picture she paints feels first hand, and rings true. Although she was denied access to some key figures (it is definitely NOT an authorised biography, and much the better for it) she has fleshed out some of the myths and legends about the London mayor (including his tangled private life) with some very solid research. The result is, like Boris, robust, racy and larger than life. And as Boris is certain to occupy high positions of power within the Tory party for years to come, it is also essential reading.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "must read"!, 4 Oct 2011
This review is from: Just Boris: The Irresistible Rise of a Political Celebrity (Hardcover)
It is undoubtedly a revealing book about someone who is for so many of us an endless source of fascination, whether what we feel about him is generally positive or indeed negative. But more than that this book is a fizzing canter through a clever collation of insightful experiences of one life,the influences on it and those of it.Utterly fascinating,most enriching!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thorough summary of the quirks, talents and shortcomings of this extraordinary man., 18 Dec 2012
By 
Clive Turner (Dove Canyon, California, US) - See all my reviews
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A long and exhaustive exposition of the life thus far of Boris Johnson, who does not come across as a wholly likeable man. I fancy his lack of loyalty; his blatant use of people until they are of no more consequence to him; and his sexual infidelities mark him down as someone hard to trust.

Clive Turner.
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Just Boris: The Irresistible Rise of a Political Celebrity
Just Boris: The Irresistible Rise of a Political Celebrity by Sonia Purnell (Hardcover - 26 Sep 2011)
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