The affairs, the lies, the shoddy handling of coronavirus … Johnson is let off the hook in this biography – it’s his father, Stanley, who emerges as the villain Tom Bower made his name as a writer of acid-pen biographies and his latest is no exception. It’s a hatchet job. Except the hatchet is aimed not at the man whose name is on the cover, but rather at his father. The villain of the piece is Stanley Johnson. Bower portrays him as an absent father and violent husband, who punched his wife so hard he broke her nose. Johnson Snr is faithless and a creep: in the parched summer of 1976, he told the family’s two au pairs that the water shortage made washing clothes impossible and therefore they would have to follow the lead set by him and his wife and walk around naked, which they duly did. Naturally, Stanley began sleeping with one of the two young women, in full knowledge of his children.
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