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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About the Author:

Sonia Purnell is a writer and journalist known for her investigative skills and lively writing style. She started work at the Economist Intelligence Unit, edited a weekly financial magazine when only 25, and then went on to a senior position on the Daily Telegraph's City pages. It was whilst working in the Telegraph's Brussels bureau in the early Nineties that she first came into close contact with Boris Johnson, then at a turning point in his personal life and working career. After her stint in Brussels, Sonia wrote about government for the Daily Telegraph and then the Daily Mail, where she was Whitehall Editor. She is now freelance and lives in London with her husband and two sons.


'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 The Guardian 'Gripping' -- Quentin Letts The 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 'A rollicking narrative' Observer 'This is a thorough biography and Johnson is a compelling subject' Financial Times 'Whether you like Boris or loathe him, he is a class act and Sonia Purnell's excellent book is a must read for those who want to understand this mystery wrapped in an enigma.' - Jerry Hayes Spectator.co.uk 'One of the many virtues of Purnell's forensic biography is that she broadly leaves the reader to make up their own mind about the true nature of this political phenomenon. Writing as a trained journalist, what Purnell does admirably is marshall the facts, warts and all, about this man.' Conservativehome.blogs.com 'Fill your Christmas stockings with this' - Nick Ferrrai LBC 'Colourful biography...Purnell decodes Johnson's complex personality' The Guardian 'Sonia Purnell's Just Boris stood out as a critical, illuminating view of London's great blonde egomaniac' - Anne McElvoy 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

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