The Gift of A Radio, Justin Webb ( paperback April 2023)
Moving and frank ... A story of a childhood defined by loneliness, the absence of a father and the grim experience of a Quaker boarding school.
It is also one of the most perceptive accounts of Britain in the 1970s.' Misha Glenny
Justin Webb's childhood was far from ordinary. Between his mother's un-diagnosed psychological problems, and his step-father's untreated ones, life at home was dysfunctional at best.
But with gun-wielding school masters and sub-standard living conditions, Quaker boarding school wasn't much better. And the backdrop to this coming of age story? Britain in the 1970s. Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin and Free.
Strikes, inflation and IRA bombings. A time in which attitudes towards mental illness, parenting and masculinity were worlds apart from the attitudes we have today. A society that believed itself to be close to the edge of breakdown.
Candid, unsparing and darkly funny, Justin Webb's memoir is a portrait of personal and national dysfunction. So was it the brutal experiences of his upbringing, or an innate ambition and drive that somehow survived them, that shaped the urbane and successful radio presenter we know and love now?