This Boy

This Boy

Summary

'The best memoir by a politician you will ever read' Philip Collins, The Times

School on the Kings Road, Chelsea in the Swinging 60s, the rock-and-roll years, the race riots; this boy has seen it all.
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Alan Johnson's childhoodwas not so much difficult as unusual, particularly for a man who was destined to become Home Secretary. Not in respect of the poverty, which was shared with many of those living in Britain's post-war slums, but in its transition from being part of a two-parent family to having a single mother and then to no parents at all...

This is essentially the story of two incredible women: Alan's mother, Lily, who battled against poor health, poverty, domestic violence and loneliness to try to ensure a better life for her children; and his sister, Linda, who had to assume an enormous amount of responsibility at a very young age and who fought to keep the family together and out of care when she herself was still only a child.

This Boy is one man's story, but it is also the story of England and the West London slums which are hard to imagine in the capital today. No matter how harsh the details, Alan Johnson writes with a spirit of generous acceptance, of humour and openness which makes his book anything but a grim catalogue of miseries.
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PRAISE FOR THIS BOY:
'Moving and unforgettable' Sunday Times
'Poignant' Telegraph
'Eloquent' Guardian
'Wonderful' Spectator
'Tribute to two strong women' Daily Mail

Reviews

  • the best memoir by a politician you will ever read
    Philip Collins, The Times

About the author

Alan Johnson

Alan Johnson was born in May 1950. He is a British Labour Party politician who served as Home Secretary from June 2009 to May 2010. Before that he filled a wide variety of cabinet positions in both the Blair and Brown governments, including Health Secretary and Education Secretary. Until 20 January 2011 he was Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer. Johnson was the Member of Parliament for Hull West and Hessle until his retirement from politics in 2017.
His first book, This Boy, won the RSL Ondaatje Prize and the Orwell Prize in 2013. His second, Please Mister Postman, won the National Book Award for Autobiography of the Year in 2014. His third, The Long and Winding Road, was published in 2016 and won the Parliamentary Book Award for Best Memoir.
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