11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you?