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Word Count: 874
The lion and the ratHome TruthsPenny JunorHarperCollins 1899 pp367Many years ago I went on a press trip to New York In the party were John Junor and David English The first who had been editor of the Sunday Express for 32 years was a mischievous old hellraiser The second who was one of Junors bosses at the Mail on Sunday where Junor was now spending the twilight of his career as a columnist was charming and urbaneJohn Junors jealousy of the younger man was palpable The trouble with David English he growled into my ear over drinks one night is that hes deeply superficial I now realise from reading his daughters compelling life of her father that I had only the faintest glimpses of the mood swings of a man who was a public lion and a domestic ratWhen I began Home Truths I had considerable doubts about the whole project Surely some things are private and should be left that way Dominic Carman was hammered in the press for revealing the private squalors of his father the brilliant QC George But I was quickly won overPenny Junors father and brother among the people who would have been most wounded are both dead her mother is in a nursing home and the book is an account as much as anything else of her own emotional journey to unravel her feelings about a man who both frightened and infuriated herThe result is an unfailingly readable mixture of biography and self-analysis often anguished but punctuated by some very funny anecdotes Junor met his wife Pam during the war She was a gently reared Englishwoman he came out of a respectable but joyless Glasgow working-class home After their marriage irretrievably soured her mother poisoned her daughters mind against her father painting her marriage as an accident of war Penny has discovered from letters and diaries that they were in fact passionately in loveThey had 10 years of happiness
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