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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

Guardian Literary Highlights of 2020.

Sunday Times Books to Watch out for in 2020.

New Statesman Books to Read in 2020.

Evening Standard Thirteen Titles to Look for in 2020.

As divisive as he is beguiling, as misunderstood as he is scrutinised, Boris Johnson is a singular figure.

Many of us think we know his story well. His ruthless ambition was evident from his insistence, as a three-year-old, that he would one day be 'world king'. Eton and Oxford prepared him well for a frantic career straddling the dog-eat-dog worlds of journalism and politics. His transformation from bumbling stooge on Have I Got News for You to a triumphant mayor of London was overshadowed only by his colourful personal life, brimming with affairs, scandals and transgressions. His ascent to Number 10 in the wake of the acrimonious, era-defining Brexit referendum would prove to be only the first act in an epic drama that saw him play both hero and villain - from proroguing parliament to his controversial leadership of the COVID-19 crisis, all against the backdrop of divorce, marriage, the birth of his sixth child, revolts among Tory MPs and the countdown to Brexit.

Yet despite his celebrity, decades of media scrutiny, the endless vitriol of his critics and the enduring adoration of his supporters, there is so much we've never understood about Boris - until now. Previous biographies have either dismissed him as a lazy, deceitful opportunist or been transfixed by his charm, wit and drive. Both approaches fall short, and so many questions about Boris remain unanswered.

What seismic events of his childhood have evaded scrutiny? How has he so consistently defied the odds, proved his critics wrong and got away with increasingly reckless gambles? What were his real achievements and failures as mayor of London, what was really going on during his time as foreign secretary and why did he write two articles for the Telegraph, one in favour of Leave and the other for Remain? How have the women in his life exerted more influence than any of us realise, and why is his story ultimately one overshadowed by family secrets?

Based on a wealth of new interviews and research, this is the deepest, most rounded and most comprehensive portrait to date of the man, the mind, the politics, the affairs, the family - of a loner, a lover, a leader.

Revelatory, unsettling and compulsively listenable, it is the most timely and indispensable book yet from Britain's leading investigative biographer.

©2020 Tom Bower (P)2020 Penguin Audio

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Not insightful or objective

While an ok listen, this book is neither insightful nor objective. Would not recommend it.

6 people found this helpful

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in insight into Boris I hoped was there.

Far from Lilley white, and full of good intentions if he gets the chance he will be the leader we need. Easy to criticise from the sofa, if you can't come up with a better plan.

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Boris Johnson a hollow vessel his true charector

I enjoyed this book it reveals the real Boris layer by layer . Deligating rather than managing , glossing over the details and endorsing cronyism instead of questioning and making decisions.

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Hilariously Biased

Having also listened to Dangerous Hero, this gives Johnson such an easy ride! However, I did find some of the chapters on his early family life quote interesting. Stanley doesn't come out of it well

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Excellent all round

This is a must listen to book. Despite some of the reviews saying TB is biased in favour of Boris I didn’t find this to be the case. It is well written and researched and I can imagine that Boris himself would have enjoyed listening to it all. While harry Lloyd is a v good narrator he got some of the pronunciations wrong. Pity that