Johnson's Life of London
The People Who Made the City that Made the World
By Boris Johnson
(Riverhead Hardcover, Hardcover, 9781594487477, 336pp.)
Publication Date: May 31, 2012
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
London is still the mother ship for Americans, many of whom share the opinion of its tousle-headed, bicycle-riding mayor - that indeed it's the best city in the world. And as the capital takes center of the world stage with the 2012 Olympics, who better than Boris (as he is known) to convey how London became one of the most exciting and influential places on Earth?
Wearing his brilliance and erudition with characteristic wit, Boris narrates the story of his city as a kind of relay race of outsized characters, beginning with the days when "a bunch of pushy Italians" created Londinium. He passes the torch on down through a procession of the famous and infamous, the brilliant and the bizarre - from Hadrian to Shakespeare to Florence Nightingale to the Rolling Stones- illuminating with unforgettable clarity each figure and the era he or she inhabited. He also pauses to shine a light on places and developments that have contributed to the city's incomparable vibrancy, from the flush toilet to the King James Bible. As wildly entertaining as it is informative, this is an irresistible account of the city and people that in large part shaped the world we know.
Boris Johnson is the popular and internationally known mayor of London and the author of several previous books. He began his career as a journalist, working his way up to editor of The Spectator. He was then elected to the House of Commons and served there until he was elected mayor in 2008.
In just a few weeks, the world will descend on London for the Olympic Games. NPR's Scott Simon talks with London Mayor Boris Johnson about his city and his new book, Johnson's Life of London: The People Who Made the City That Made the World. More at NPR.org
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“A sparkling blend of history, biography, and geography…Johnson’s exuberant paean makes a persuasive case that genius breeds genius.” – The New York Times Book Review
“Flush with anecdotes on everyone from Queen Boudica to Keith Richards…by another unique London personality, the tow-headed, bicycle-riding Mayor Boris Johnson.” - Vogue
“[A] chummy, chatty history...[Boris] has a flair for describing personalities.” –Smithsonian
“[Johnson’s] knowledge of London is wide and deep, and he dispenses that history with intelligence and affection.” – The Chicago Tribune
“With the wit and wisdom for which he is famous, Boris Johnson tells the story of the vibrant city he fell in love with long before he grew up to run it.” – Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
“Boris Johnson is Britain's most popular politician. He is also its wittiest—and most erudite. In this book he turns his love for London and his stint as its mayor into an edifying and entertaining romp. There is no voice on the international political stage, and few within the pages of any book, as eclectic, learned, hilarious, and wonderful as his. Not since Winston Churchill has a future Prime Minister of Britain written so well.” – Michael Wolff, Vanity Fair
“Engaging ... a highly entertaining work of popular history.” – Publishers Weekly
“A lively thematic guide…the author shows that there is much more to London than Big Ben, London Bridge and William Shakespeare.” – Kirkus
“An entertainingly irreverent take on a powerhouse city.” – Library Journal
UK Praise for Johnson's Life of London
“[Johnson] exudes excitement and wonder about the city he grew up in and which he now leads. He loves London in all its frantic, grubby, creative glory, and wants to make us feel that way too. … Revealing anecdotes go far beyond familiar guidebook tales [and] Johnson’s unerring eye for detail catches your attention but also moves his story on.” --The Daily Mail
“Here’s Boris, pedaling madly through the history of the capital. …. Through portraits of its famous residents … Johnson gives us his very own London, and we can’t but be glad that he did.” –The Times
“The stories of both the subjects and the city are brilliantly told [and show] an eye for detail that would do Savile Row proud. … Resist[s] easy caricature to paint complex pictures of flawed humans. –The Spectator