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Sonia Purnell - Author

About the Author

Sonia Purnell started work at The Economist Intelligence Unit, edited a weekly financial magazine when only twenty-five, and then went on to a senior position on the Daily Telegraph's City pages before reporting on the EU from Brussels. On her return to London she assumed the position of Whitehall Correspondent, before moving to the Daily Mail, where she was Whitehall Editor. Her first book, Just Boris: A Tale of Blond Ambition, was a candid and widely acclaimed portrait of London Mayor Boris Johnson, informed by her time working alongside him in Brussels. Just Boris was long listed for the Orwell Prize. She now writes and broadcasts as a freelancer and lives in London with her husband and two sons.

Featured books by Sonia Purnell

Other books by Sonia Purnell

Clementine Churchill A Life in Pictures

Clementine Churchill A Life in Pictures

Author: Sonia Purnell, Harriet Walter Format: Hardback Release Date: 08/10/2019

Foreword by Harriet Walter. Clementine Churchill: A Life in Pictures is a fully illustrated and abridged edition of Sonia Purnell's acclaimed biography, First Lady, including over 100 stunning and rarely seen photographs. Without Winston Churchill's inspiring leadership Britain could not have survived its darkest hour. Without his wife Clementine, however, he might never have become Prime Minister. By his own admission, his role in the Second World War would have been impossible but for `Clemmie'. That Clementine should have become Britain's First Lady was by no means preordained. She may have been born an aristocrat but her childhood was far from gilded. Deprived of affection, a secure home and sometimes even food on the table, by the time she entered high society she had become the target of cruel snobbery. Yet in Winston she discovered a partner as emotionally insecure as herself; and in his career she found her mission. Theirs was a marriage that was to change the course of history. Clementine gave Winston confidence, conviction and counsel. Not only was she involved in some of the most crucial decisions of the war, she also exerted an influence over her husband and his governments that might be judged scandalous today. Her ability to manage this exceptional man, and to charm Britain's allies, earned her the deep respect of world leaders, ministers, generals and critics alike. While her tireless work to alleviate suffering on the Home Front and abroad made her a champion to many in the population at large. From the personal and political upheavals of the Great War, through the Churchills' `wilderness years' in the 1930s, to Clementine's desperate efforts to sustain Winston during the struggle against Hitler, Clementine Churchill: A Life in Pictures continues to uncover the memory of one of the most remarkable women of modern times.

A Woman of No Importance The Untold Story of WWII's Most Dangerous Spy, Virginia Hall

A Woman of No Importance The Untold Story of WWII's Most Dangerous Spy, Virginia Hall

Author: Sonia Purnell Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 26/03/2019

***A New York Times bestseller*** 'A rousing tale of derring-do' The Times Book of the Week 'A cracking story about an extraordinarily brave woman' Telegraph Best Holiday Beach Reads 'As riveting as any thriller, and as hard to put down' Mick Herron, New York Times 'Gripping ... superb ... a rounded portrait of a complicated, resourceful, determined and above all brave woman' Irish Times In 1942, the Gestapo would stop at nothing to track down a mysterious 'limping lady' who was fighting for the freedom of France. The Nazi chiefs issued a simple but urgent command: 'She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies. We must find and destroy her.' The Gestapo's target was Virginia Hall, a glamorous American with a wooden leg who broke through the barriers against her gender and disability to be the first woman to infiltrate Vichy France for the SOE. In so doing she helped turn the course of the intelligence war. This is the epic tale of an heiress who determined that a hunting accident would not define her existence; a young woman who gambled her life to fight for the freedoms she believed in; an espionage novice who helped to light the flame of French Resistance. Based on new and extensive research, Sonia Purnell has for the first time uncovered the full secret life of Virginia Hall, an astounding and inspiring story of heroism, spycraft, resistance and personal triumph over shocking adversity.

First Lady

First Lady

Author: Sonia Purnell Format: eBook Release Date: 01/08/2016

Pedal Power: How Boris Johnson Failed London's Cyclists

Pedal Power: How Boris Johnson Failed London's Cyclists

Author: Sonia Purnell Format: eBook Release Date: 10/04/2012

From the author of Just Boris, the acclaimed and controversial new biography of Boris Johnson, comes a short polemical investigation into the London Mayors much-vaunted Cycling Revolution. When Boris campaigned in the mayoral election of 2008 he rarely turned up to a photo-call without his trusty bike. His promise was to turn London into the greatest two-wheeled city on earth, where as many people commuted by bicycle as had done a century before. But after much fanfare, and millions spent on Super Highways and Boris Bikes, it appears he has turned his back on cyclists in favour of the gas-guzzling motorists of Londons Conservative heartlands. Worse still, although the Cycling Revolution has brought more bikes onto the roads, it has been accompanied by an alarming rate of crashes. With the same forensic zeal she applied to Just Boris, Sonia Purnell separates fact from fiction to reveal how the cycling mayor has failed on his greatest ambition for London, and offers a timely insight into what Londoners can expect from another term of the blond on the bike. Sonia Purnell is a writer and freelance journalist living in London and is the author of the acclaimed biography Just Boris: A Tale of Blond Ambition. She worked closely with Boris Johnson in the Daily Telegraphs Brussels bureau in the early Nineties at a turning point in his personal life and working career.

Just Boris A Tale of Blond Ambition - A Biography of Boris Johnson

Just Boris A Tale of Blond Ambition - A Biography of Boris Johnson

Author: Sonia Purnell Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/03/2012

A major and controversial new biography of one of the most compelling and contradictory figures in modern British life. Born Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, to most of us he is just 'Boris' - the only politician of the age to be regarded in such familiar, even affectionate terms. Uniquely, he combines comedy with erudition, gimlet-eyed focus with jokey self-deprecation, and is a loving family man with a roving eye. He is also a hugely ambitious figure with seemingly no huge ambitions to pursue - other than, perhaps, power itself. In this revealing biography, written from the vantage point of a once close colleague, Sonia Purnell examines how a shy, young boy from a broken home became our only box-office politician - and most unlikely sex god; how the Etonian product fond of Latin tags became a Man of the People - and why he wanted to be; how the gaffe-prone buffoon charmed Londonders to win the largest personal mandate Britain has ever seen; and how the Johnson family built our biggest - and blondest - media and political dynasty. The first forensic account of a remarkable rise to fame and power, Just Boris unravels this most compelling of political enigmas and asks whether the Mayor who dreams of crossing the Thames to Downing Street has what it takes to be Prime Minister.

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