Twenty years ago Paul Johnson published INTELLECTUALS, which questioned whether intellectuals were morally fit to give advice to humanity. It was translated into 14 languages, but it was also criticized for over-emphasising the bad behaviour of clever and gifted people. In CREATORS (2006) Paul Johnson met the charge with a volume which celebrated the achievements of outstanding and prolific creative spirits. In HEROES he ranges even wider across human experience, achievement and character. The biblical heroes Deborah and Judith appear along with King David and Samson. Mary Queen of Scots is contrasted with Queen Elizabeth I. There are inspiring national leaders, military geniuses and warrior-queens. On a lighter note, Lady Pamela Berry represents the heroism of the hostess and Jane Carlyle the heroic wife. He ends with three figures who dismantled the Soviet empire: Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II.
Paul Johnson was born in 1928. He edited the New Statesman in the 1960s and has written over forty books. His Modern Times, a history of the world from the 1920s to the 1990s, has been translated into more than fifteen languages. As well as a weekly column in the Spectator, he contributes to newspapers all over the world.