Who said: "It is a fact of life that any discourse...will always please if it is five minutes shorter than people expect"

BookBrowse's Favorite Quotes

"It is a fact of life that any discourse, on any subject, whatever the occasion and whatever the status of the speaker, will always please if it is five minutes shorter than people expect." - Paul Johnson

English journalist, historian, speechwriter and author Paul Bede Johnson was born in 1928 in Manchester, educated at a private Roman Catholic school, and then at Magdalen College, Oxford. After graduating with a second-class honours degree he completed his national service in the army mainly in Gibraltar (a tiny British territory on the south coast of Spain). In 1952 he went to work in Paris, first for a French magazine as assistant editor, and then as Paris correspondent for the New Statesman.

After witnessing Franco's regime during his military service and the ferocious police response to the 1952 riots soon after his arrival in Paris, Johnson became strongly left-wing in his outlook. But by the 1970s his political pendulum had swung to embrace a distinctly conservative outlook. During the 1980s he was one of Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's closest advisers and also wrote a regular column for the weekly conservative British magazine The Spectator (from 1981 to 2009), primarily addressing issues and events that he felt indicated a decline in society in general.

He still writes for The Spectator occasionally and also contributes to The Daily Telegraph, the The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and National Review. To date, in addition to numerous magazine and newspaper articles, he has he published over 40 books.

Strongly anti-communist, and popular with the conservative movement in the United States, he is known for statements that (would appear to intentionally) provoke. For example, some of his more controversial positions include defending Richard Nixon for Watergate and Oliver North's involvement in the 1986 Iran-Contra affair. Despite his early experiences with the regime during his military service, he apparently has been known to express qualified admiration for General Franco and, according to Heroes Are People, Too (2007), considers Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet one of his heroes.

More Quotes

This quote & biography originally ran in an issue of BookBrowse's membership magazine. Full Membership Features & Benefits.

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    All Tomorrow's Parties
    by Rob Spillman
    In this absorbing memoir, co-founder of Tin House magazine, Rob Spillman, recalls his artistic ...
  • Book Jacket: Strangers in Their Own Land
    Strangers in Their Own Land
    by Arlie Russell Hochschild
    Arlie Russell Hochschild's dive into the heart of Tea Party America is as good a glimpse of ...
  • Book Jacket: The Dry
    The Dry
    by Jane Harper
    After receiving a letter from his childhood friend's father, Aaron Falk, a Melbourne police officer ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Victoria
by Daisy Goodwin

"A hit…The research is impeccable, the attention to detail, perfect." - The Sunday Mirror (UK)

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    A Piece of the World
    by Christina Baker Kline

    A stunning novel of friendship, passion, and art from the #1 bestselling author of Orphan Train.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    I See You
    by Clare Mackintosh

    A dark and compelling thriller about an everyday woman trapped in the confines of her everyday world.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

K Your F C

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.