Is Boris Johnson a fan of Harry Perry Robinson? If he isn’t, he really ought to be. Reading this absorbing biography, I was struck by how much they have in common — especially in their early lives. Both men went to public school, then on to Oxford, then into journalism, where they proved incapable of writing a dull sentence. They both divorced and remarried — and were also American citizens, for a while. Both dipped a toe into politics, but while Boris took the plunge, Harry stepped back and remained a jobbing hack until his dying day, the finest journalist of his generation. The biggest difference, however, is that Harry was born in 1859, which is why you’ve probably never heard of him. I certainly hadn’t until I read Joseph McAleer’s fascinating book.