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507 Reviews
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106 of 107 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An admirable and moving memoir
While I must admit personally to having blown hot and cold so far as the Blair and Brown governments were concerned I always regarded Alan Johnson as one of the few members of those governments who combined integrity, honesty and a deep-rooted sense of fairness with the character of an authentically nice bloke. My liking and respect for the man is enhanced by this book,...
Published 16 months ago by Andy Gudge

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok
Some of this was a very interesting social history of poverty in 1950s london and what it was like to grow up in slum conditions which are not familiar today and feel like a lifetime ago. However, i was interested in what made this boy the man who was able to become a cabinet minister and this question was not answered or even attempted in the book and therefore i was a...
Published 23 days ago by honey


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The opposite of a 'Misery Memoir', 13 Aug 2013
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This review is from: This Boy (Kindle Edition)
A very enjoyable read - and at the same time a reminder of what absolute poverty feels like. His sister's courage and determination is beyond admirable and the author's cheerful optimism makes this the opposite of the 'misery memoir' we often see. We need more people like him in politics - people who really know first hand what it is like to struggle for the most basic things.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A tug at the heart strings, 23 July 2013
By 
E. A. Slater - See all my reviews
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This review is from: This Boy (Kindle Edition)
A sad book to read, but well worth persevering with. The calibre of the man shines through and it's a book I would recommend..
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A politicians's autobiography without the "in your face" politics and ego trips., 1 Jun 2013
By 
Woodstock (Hertfordshire UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: This Boy (Kindle Edition)
This is a somewhat sad story. But it is important that it is told. I found it illuminating. It describes a set of social conditions that existed in my lifetime, of which I was completely unaware. It illustrates, without grinding axes, how true poverty can exist through unfortunate circumstances completely beyond the control of those affected. It is a stoic story.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Boy, 28 May 2013
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This review is from: This Boy (Kindle Edition)
Alan Johnson for PM

What a wonderful book this is. An honest and touching account by alan johnson of the 2 great women in his life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read if you are interested in plain English social history, 3 Aug 2014
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This review is from: This Boy (Paperback)
I enjoyed this tremendously. Refreshing to read something by a politician that is down to earth, completely objective and not self promoting. It did strike a chord as he is just a year older than me and grew up in London, where my parents were born. Even though his childhood was tougher than mine, many of his anecdotes from everyday life resonate: the food, the morals, a child's "other" life outside the home. It's long enough to sink you effectively into the fifties and sixties but not too long that you start skipping bits. He has a clear conversational style of English that is immediately understandable. He uses minimum description to take you back into those streets of multi-family rented buildings that are now either gone or transformed into something altogether different. The book is also a wonderful testament to the love and dedication of his sister. It's a touching memoire and a history lesson in one - you will learn more about the poverty that still existed in London in the fifties, and the failure of those in power to recognise and deal with it, than you ever would from a textbook or teacher.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read this book!, 6 Sep 2014
This review is from: This Boy (Kindle Edition)
Wavered when reading this between feeling the writing was overly sentimental, to feeling genuinely touched. The photos in black and white seem about right for the fifties. I'm a bit younger than Alan, but was around in the fifties and my memories of the fifties and early sixties do feel a bit black and white - a harsher, blander feeling to the world than today.

Have always liked Alan Johnson in his political roles and having now discovered the deprivation of his childhood, can only admire the man even more for what he has achieved. Many professional politicians experience of life is more Eton and Oxford than Shepherds Bush and Alan's socialist politics can only be seen as really genuine in the light of the experience of his childhood. He's also a QPR supporter, which pushes him even higher in my estimation.

A very good, if not quite great book. Having said that I'll probably buy the next instalment....I want to know what happens next!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real lesson from history, 23 July 2014
By 
L. Rushton "EFAW" (East Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: This Boy (Kindle Edition)
Disease, poverty, death and degradation. It should be a preliminary for all politicians, before they're allowed to take any decisions that affect people. How few now are as qualified as Alan Johnson to know the enormous weight that gets placed on the heads of the non-privileged in our society? Less now than in the fifties and sixties, but with the last couple of crops of government 'selfies' we might find ourselves back in the heady days where there was that vast gap between the lowest and highest earners. Wait a minute, are we there already?

It's a fine book, told in non-sentimental language, about the disgrace that affected Mr Johnson and lots of people from my generation. The generations that were scorned by the comfortably and smugly off.

Should be required reading for schools, to show what can happen. A lesson from history? When will we remember?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent read, 22 Dec 2013
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This review is from: This Boy (Hardcover)
this book was not only heartbreaking in parts but was the story of a wonderful mother that brought her children up well and how independent they were when they were left behind to survive
a very good read- you always think of members of parliment coming from very wealthy backgrounds but this shows you can achieve anything in life if its what you want
worth reading
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, 12 Jun 2013
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This review is from: This Boy (Kindle Edition)
I can vouch this is exactly how it was in those days. I to was born in Paddington General Hospital in 1949; lived in Southam St. Just shows what a difference having two loving parents make. I can’t wait for the next book as this is only up to the end of his teens; such a good read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars None, 19 May 2013
This review is from: This Boy (Kindle Edition)
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. It brought back so many memories of my own childhood. Although I grew up in south east London and am about 8 years older than Alan, we still suffered the same deprivations, no bathroom, no heating, outside toilet and urine bucket in the bedroom. Our family, however did have a whole 3 bedroom house to ourselves albeit rented from an absentee landlord who did nothing to improve our situation, and we had both parents, who didn't drink, smoke or gamble. Times were still hard though with seven mouths to feed and never any new clothes or shoes to our name and how well I remember the embarrassment of trying to have a strip wash every morning at the sink in a cold scullery with a bare stone floor with other members of the family sometimes barging in before I'd finished. Our house was never clean and tidy because our mother was absolutely hopeless at all things domestic, so we lived in absolute squalour. A world away from life today.
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