Just Boris: A Tale of Blond Ambition - A Biography of Boris Johnson Paperback – 1 Mar 2012
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‘Sonia Purnell's Just Boris is an indispensable examination into the mind, ambitions and deep insecurities of London's mayor; Boris hates it because she dares speak truth to power.’(Nicholas Lezard Guardian - Best of 2012)
'Through fast prose and a vast array of interviews, Purnell ... portrays better than any predecessor the arrogance, opportunism, and irresistible buffoonery of our most celebrated politician.'(Independent on Sunday)
'If you want the full Johnson experience, do read Sonia Purnell's new biography, Just Boris ... Johnson's supporters have depicted the book as a hatchet job. But actually it struck me as commendably fair' - Andrew Sparrow, UK Political Journalist of the Year(Guardian)
'Gripping' - Quentin Letts (Book of the Week)(Daily Mail)
'Future biographers will always be in her debt. Purnell has accumulated a wealth of previously unknown detail' - Andrew Gimson(The Spectator)
'Filled with gems ... will make uncomfortable reading for Boris' - Camilla Long(The Sunday Times)
'Thorough study...sharply narrated and dilgently researched.'(New Statesman)
‘Meticulous and quietly devastating’(Standpoint)
‘Meticulously researched and well presented’(The Oldie)
'Gives good pointers on Johnson’s real beliefs as to who should be the [Conservatives’] leader, and on his future relationship with Cameron' - Stephen Hammond MP(Total Politics)
‘Thoroughly researched and well-crafted … If you want to know who and what Boris is, read Sonia Purnell's book.’(Literary Review)
‘Excellent, relentlessly entertaining biography’(Guardian)
'Boisterous, widely praised otherwise comprehensive biography'(Andy Beckett The Guardian)
'brilliant'(Steve Richards The Independent)
‘Sonia must have had huge fun writing this wonderful book. The only person who won’t be amused is Boris himself’(Michael Crick) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very interesting reading especially given our current referendum. Does he expect us to believe what he is saying?!!Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Sonia Purnell's brilliantly researched and engaging written biography of 'bumbling Boris' reveals the truth behind the frothy Bertie Wooster persona. Read morePublished 6 months ago by HawkeyeDevon
I am always wary of biographies because a writer chooses what to concentrate on, which parts of a personality to emphasise and which to play down. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Wendy Manktellow
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