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20th March 2009

Memoir of Exonian explorer, environmentalist and politician to hit the shelves

“Stanley, I presume”, a memoir by Stanley Johnson (1959, English), is being published by Fourth Estate/HarperCollins this month, and is currently being serialised in the Sunday Times. Mr Johnson, the father of Boris Johnson, current Mayor of London, commented that the book includes a lot of light-hearted tales about his time at Exeter – but he carried on to say that he had refrained from including the full text of ‘Julie’, the song the Exeter Rugby XV sang in the bar after a successful game, out of deference to those of delicate sensibilities!

Mr Johnson’s memoir covers his life as an explorer, author, occasional politician and also one of the world’s first environmentalists. On leaving school in 1958 he travelled alone through South America – hitching rides across the jungle on Brazilian Air Force planes. Whilst at Exeter, he won the University’s poetry prize with a love poem – written following a hilltop tryst in the West Country – and after graduating went on to work for billionaire John D Rockefeller 3rd, the World Bank, the United Nations and the European Union, as well as being hailed by Greenpeace for his environmental work.

The book also explores the Johnson family’s roots: from Turkey (where Mr Johnson’s politician grandfather, Ali Kemal, was torn to pieces by an angry mob) to the British monarchy – he and Boris are direct descendants of George II.

The book was described by Esther Rantzen as “irresistibly funny” and by Anne Robinson as “a wonderful jaw-dropping account of a rollercoaster life”. It is available on Amazon and through bookshops.

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