'Searingly honest... gripping... fascinating and hugely entertaining.' Sunday Times
'Justin is a great broadcaster because he sounds like a real human being. This hugely entertaining book helps explain why'. John Humphrys
'Moving and frank ... A story of a childhood defined by loneliness, the absence of a father and the grim experience of a Quaker boarding school. It is also one of the most perceptive accounts of Britain in the 1970s.' Misha Glenny
Justin Webb's childhood was far from ordinary.
Between his mother's un-diagnosed psychological problems, and his step-father's untreated ones, life at home was dysfunctional at best. But with gun-wielding school masters and sub-standard living conditions, Quaker boarding school wasn't much better.
And the backdrop to this coming of age story? Britain in the 1970s. Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin and Free. Strikes, inflation and IRA bombings. A time in which attitudes towards mental illness, parenting and masculinity were worlds apart from the attitudes we have today. A society that believed itself to be close to the edge of breakdown.
Candid, unsparing and darkly funny, Justin Webb's memoir is a portrait of personal and national dysfunction. So was it the brutal experiences of his upbringing, or an innate ambition and drive that somehow survived them, that shaped the urbane and successful radio presenter we know and love now?
A gripping memoir ... fascinating and hugely entertaining. It's extremely thoughtful and shockingly honest.
A crisp, unself-pitying memoir of a 'trainwreck' youth ... I've always likes Webb on the radio. But I like him much more after reading this book. He offers precisely the kind of brisk honesty and considered analysis he expects from his interviewees. Our politicians should all read it, and step up their game.
[Justin Webb's] affability and easy manner seems even more remarkable after reading [his] memoir, The Gift Of A Radio. The subtitle is My Childhood And Other Train Wrecks, which is apt: the experiences of his formative years would have driven most children completely off the rails
Moving, darkly hilarious ... In his mother, Gloria Crocombe, Webb records a great tragicomic character.
This is not a misery memoir, but some painful introspection feeds [Justin Webb's] frank and lightly handled accounts of damage. It makes for engrossing reading.