Stanley’s story begins with a loud bang – when his father, an RAF pilot in the Second World War, crash-lands a Wellington bomber on a Devon airfield. A few years later Stanley’s parents buy a sheep farm on nearby Exmoor, where Stanley does much of his growing up.
Stanley would keep his links with this much-loved rural idyll throughout his life – while going on to become an explorer, author, occasional politician and also one of the world’s first environmentalists. A sparkling raconteur and experienced thriller writer, in Stanley I Presume great stories are told in great style.
On leaving school in 1958 Stanley travelled alone through South America – hitching rides across the jungle on Brazilian Air Force planes – and shortly afterwards he rode a motorcycle 4,000 miles from London to Afghanistan, tracing the route of Marco Polo with two friends.
After winning Oxford University’s poetry prize with a love poem – written following a hilltop tryst in the West Country – Stanley went on to do various adventurous jobs, before working for the billionaire John D Rockefeller III, the World Bank, the United Nations and the European Union.
Stanley married and started a family young – Boris was born in New York when his father was 23 – and while Boris would go on to become big news, the family’s forbears also provide quite a story, as Stanley finds out.
For the Johnson family’s roots are not just in the West Country, but in Turkey too – where, as Stanley discovers, his politician grandfather Ali Kemal was torn to pieces by an angry mob. Stanley visits a Turkish village where the locals are blonde – later he learns that he and Boris are direct descendants of George II.
Reviews of Stanley I Presume?
- “A hilarious memoir” – THE SUNDAY TIMES
- ***** (FIVE STARS) “Laugh out loud funny – once you’ve read it you’ll understand a lot more about what makes Boris tick” – NEWS OF THE WORLD
- **** (FOUR STARS) “This is a very funny book – Stanley devotes most of his autobiography to telling jokes at his own expense” – THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
- “A wonderful jaw-dropping account of a rollercoaster life. Johnson senior does not disappoint… the book is a triumph” – ANNE ROBINSON
- “Poet, explorer, irresistibly funny…. This lovely book reflects its author’s delightful personality” – ESTHER RANTZEN
- “There’s no-one I’d rather go into the jungle with” – JOAN BAKEWELL
- “From the early days of running across a mat of spring flowers at the stadium at Olympia, to a standing ovation at the Berlin Film Festival, via the politics and people of his time, Stanley Johnson’s life sparkles with a joy of living. He writes with the wit and humour of a true raconteur. Stanley, I Presume, is a fascinating read of a fascinating life” – ZOE WANAMAKER
- ‘a rip-roaring read!’ Boris Johnson, Telegraph, Books of the Year