Stanley’s story begins with a loud bang – when his father, an RAF pilot in the Second World War, crash-lands a Wellington bomber in 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. On leaving school in 1958, Stanley travelled alone through South America – hitching rides across the jungle on Brazilian Air Force planes – and shortly afterwards rode a motorcycle 4,000 miles from London to Afghanistan, tracing the route of Marco Polo with two friends. 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 twenty-three – 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. A sparkling raconteur and experienced thriller writer, in ‘Stanley, I Presume?’, Stanley Johnson tells great stories in an unsurpassable style.
Reviews of Stanley I Presume?
- ‘When asked to review my father’s memoir…I was thrilled. My father has had a rip-roaring life, created countless cock-ups on all four continents and writes like a dream…Highly enjoyable reading.’ Rachel Johnson, Evening Standard
- ‘A hilarious memoir.’ Sunday Times
- ‘This is a very funny book – Stanley devotes most of his autobiography to telling jokes at his own expense.’ Andrew Gimson, Daily Telegraph
- ‘Laugh out loud funny – once you’ve read it you’ll understand a lot more about what makes Boris tick.’ News of the World
- ‘A wonderful jaw-dropping account of a rollercoaster life. Johnson senior does not disappoint…the book is a triumph.’ Anne Robinson