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Stanley Johnson: Books That Changed My Life

Stanley Johnson: Books That Changed My Life

Stanley Johnson is a writer, former politician and passionate animal rights and environmental campaigner. He’s also the father of six children—including the current Mayor of London.

Kennedy’s Latin Primer

By Benjamin Hall Kennedy


(Longman, £14.50)

This was my introduction to the classics. At school, we studied all the nouns, adjectives, verbs, declensions and conjugations that made up Latin— I found it exciting to understand how a language was constructed; it set me on the road to being a classicist. 


Tschiffely’s Ride

By Aimé Tschiffely


(The Long Riders' Guild Press, £19.99)

Imagine riding 10,000 miles from Buenos Aires in Argentina, through Central America to New York! Tschiffely embarked on his journey with two horses in 1925 and I thought it the most wonderfully adventurous thing. Even today there isn’t a road that takes you from South to North America. I was still at school when I read his story and had only ever been abroad once in my life but, a few years later during my gap year, I too went to South America. I’ve been travelling the world for work and enlightening experiences ever since.


The Gathering Storm

By Winston Churchill


(Penguin Classics, £17.60) 

I started reading Churchill’s six volumes on the Second World War when I was about 12. There’s a line in The Gathering Storm that describes his feelings when he first became Prime Minister on May 10, 1940, which has stayed with me all my life: “I felt as if I were walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and this trial.” I wrote to him when he took office for the second time and was thrilled to get a letter back.


Stanley Johnson’s second volume of his memoirs, Stanley, I Resume, is out now.

Read more articles by Caroline Hutton here