Suffused throughout with references to John Simpson’s baby son, this autobiography-cum-collection of travel memoirs is a mixed bag.
I struggled at times with the mix of deeply personal autobiography (You can’t begrudge Simpson’s love for his family, particularly when he explains why becoming a father again was such an unexpected joy) and the slightly self righteous political commentary (possibly all the more galling because more often than not I find my self agreeing with John Simpson’s view!).
The other irritation about the book was the repetition of certain events, often told as if for the first time.
For me, a bit more editing would not have gone amiss.
But Not Quite World’s End is well worth reading despite both these elements, if simply to piggyback on John Simpson’s years of experience of reporting on world affairs – he is not deterred by the powerful or the poor, and through forty years with the BBC has contacts and fixers galore, all of which means that he’s able to share the detail and an analysis of important events in less well known or well understood parts of the globe – from Baghdad to Belgrade, from the forced relocation of Botswana’s Kalahari Bushmen to the “disingenuous” use of intelligence material to persuade the British parliament to back the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Amazon.co.uk link: Not Quite World’s End: A Traveller’s Tales – John Simpson