JUST BORIS: A Tale of Blond Ambition

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9781845137410: JUST BORIS: A Tale of Blond Ambition

A major and controversial new biography of one of the most compelling and contradictory figures in modern British life. Born Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, to most of us he is just ‘Boris’ – the only politician of the age to be regarded in such familiar, even affectionate terms. Uniquely, he combines comedy with erudition, gimlet-eyed focus with jokey self-deprecation, and is a loving family man with a roving eye. He is also a hugely ambitious figure with seemingly no huge ambitions to pursue – other than, perhaps, power itself. In this revealing new biography, written from the vantage point of a once close colleague, Sonia Purnell examines how a shy, young boy from a broken home became our only box-office politician. How the Etonian product fond of Latin tags became a Man of the People; and why he wanted to be. How the gaffe-prone buffoon won the largest personal mandate this country has ever seen; and how the Johnson family built our biggest – and blondest – media and political dynasty. The first forensic account of a remarkable rise to fame and power, Just Boris unravels a political enigma and asks whether the Mayor who dreams of crossing the Thames to Downing Street has what it takes to be Prime Minister.

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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)


(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)

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