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Lend me your Ears Paperback – 7 Jun 2004
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Praise for Boris Johnson and Friends, Voters, Countrymen:
‘Johnson has cracked the art of making politics invigorating.’Daily Telegraph
‘Such an entertaining read.’ Daily Mail
‘It is very funny and has, in short, all the idiosyncracies of its author.’ Jeremy Paxman
From the Inside Flap
Boris Johnson wrote of his early steps as a politician in his first book, Friends, Voters,Countrymen. Now he turns to his other life. Lend Me Your Ears is a collection of the essentail Boris Johnson, the best of his journalism, with additional new writing.
Selecting from the articles he has written over the last years, Boris Johnson takes the reader on a journey from his humble beginnings of a 'heroically unproductive hack' on The Times, through his time as European correspondent for The Daily Telegraph, to his present occupation as the editor of The Spectator and regular columnist and contributor to many other newspapers and magazines.
The fifteen year period has seen amazing changes, both politically and culturally, both at home and abroad. Boris Johnson was there at many key moments: he saw, commented and critized.
In his own inimitable style, Boris Johnson shows the reader the changes in domestic politics from Thatcher's fall to Mandelson's two resignations, from the time of Diana to the issues of liberty verses freedom. In foreign affairs he explores countries as diverse as Zimbabwe and Yugoslavia, and he provides an insight into the many personalities he has meet from Frank Bruno to President Bush. And above and beyond politics, he turns his attention to British society, its culture, its manners, its morals and its idiosyncracies.
Whether persuading the Danes to reject the Maastricht treaty, dancing with Ulrika Jonsson, trying to erect a climbing frame, reporting from the war-torn Balkans, Boris Johnson illuminates the last fifteen years and his new contributions set the whole period in focus. At time humourous, at other time furious, but always insightful, Lend Me Your Ears is lively, stimulating and a pleasure to read. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
I don't mean this as a criticism, but more a warning to those who might buy this book expecting more light-hearted recollections of Johnson's (successful) attempts to become an MP, combined with his role as editor of The Spectator. Instead, expect Johnson's view on such subjects as the inner workings of the EU. Although there is a sprinkling of humour, it's much less frequent than in "Friends Voters Countrymen".
Although it's not really my cup of tea, I don't want to actually criticise the book at all. If you're a Boris fan only in the sense of enjoying his appearances on Have I Got News For You, my advice would be to go for the earlier book.
As a very regular visitor to London, it is impossible to ignore his most recent persona, the mayor of London; the demise of bendy-buses, the growth of cycle ways and the racks of blue-white rentable bicycles. Knowing some of his other interests, it is just surprising there is no Latin translation of the rental conditions!
"Perhaps it was the magic of this work of art (the Bayeux Tapestry). Perhaps it was the effects of a flagon of Norman cider. But the experience prompted in me a sort of revelation, an interruptionof my almost incessant meditiations on Britain's place in Europe." So begins an article on our "schizoid approach to Europe".
Rooted in the classics but very much alive in the present, he is always entertaining whether you read him to raise the adrenalin level or for comfort.
This last is important. Although I am myself extremely unlikely to vote Tory any time soon, it is vital for our democracy that opposing views get a hearing - and what Johnson presents here is a coherent statement of a logical, internally consistent, sometimes compelling conservative philosophy. I had no idea the Conservative Party had such a thing!
Surely it should not fall to a journalist backbencher to explain what his party is about. That it has done so reflects very badly on the shambolic state of the supposed official opposition. Johnson's reporting style is engaging, his analysis balanced and insightful, his arguments lucid and, while I take issue with him on many things, particularly foreign policy, I have found much here to admire and respect. If only his colleagues could get their act together, we might have a proper debate.