Alan Johnson's childhood was not so much difficult as unusual, particularly for a man who was destined to become Home Secretary. Not in respect of the poverty, which was shared with many of those living in the slums of postwar Britain, but in its transition from two-parent family to single mother and then to no parents at all.... This is essentially the story of two incredible women: Alan's mother, Lily, who battled against poor health, poverty, domestic violence and loneliness to try to ensure a better life for her children; and his sister, Linda, who had to assume an enormous amount of responsibility at a very young age and who fought to keep the family together.
From the condemned slums of Southam Street in West London to the corridors of power in Westminster, Alan Johnson's multiaward-winning autobiography charts an extraordinary journey, almost unimaginable in today's Britain. This third volume tells of Alan's early political skirmishes as a trades union leader, where his negotiating skills and charismatic style soon came to the notice of Tony Blair and other senior members of the Labour Party.
In July 1969, while the Rolling Stones played a free concert in Hyde Park, Alan Johnson and his young family left West London to start a new life. The Britwell Estate in Slough, apparently notorious among the locals, in fact came as a blessed relief after the tensions of Notting Hill, and the local community welcomed them with open arms. Alan had become a postman the previous year, and in order to support his growing family took on every bit of overtime he could, often working twelve-hour shifts six days a week.