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This, John Simpson s third book, is in fact two books an account of his experiences in Afghanistan in late 2001 culminating with his famous walk into Kabul after the Taliban had fled interspersed with his own, anecdote heavy opinions on how journalism specifically, TV journalism operates in the modern world The latter part formed the basis of his second book, the excellent A Mad World, My Masters.As ever, Simpson comes across as an intelligent man dedicated to finding out and telling the truth, which includes many self deprecatory asides which if anything serve to make him seem incredibly honest and impartial if he can tell us things about himself which do not present him in the best of lights, then the reader can confidently assume he must be the right man to report the news in a frank and unbiased manner.But does the two books idea work In this instance, yes it does in each chapter, Simpson tells the reader about his Afghan experiences and then reflects on what he has learned about television journalism during his long career with the BBC And he successfully manages to maintain a balance between the two while always keeping the reader interested. On November Th , John Simpson And A BBC News Crew Walked Into Kabul, And The Liberation Of The Afghan Capital Was Broadcast To A Waiting World It Was The End Of A Sustained Campaign Against The Taliban, A Campaign That Simpson Had Covered From The Beginning, Despite Appalling Difficulties And, Often, Great Danger In This, His Third Riveting Volume Of Autobiography, John Simpson Focuses On How Journalists Set About Finding The Stories That Make The Headlines It Is Quintessential Simpson Vivid, Utterly Absorbing, And Written With All The Care And Lucidity Of His Reporting Style An interesting take on foreign affairs Of course, John Simpson was there when a lot of these events happened, as an observer, not a participant It s interesting to hear his take on them, and of course the effort taken for us to see his reports Surprising that we seem to take these reports for granted, without realising the work it involves.An Angel s AlternativeCold Steel on the RocksWe Are Cold Steel This is by far my favourite John Simpson book, and I ve read them all now He uses the various things that happen to him during the Afghan war to not only inform about this, but as a springboard to talk about other subjects, sometimes past exploits sometimes issues he considers important, such as teamwork and the various people who put up with him.Personally, I find this book inspiring because of the accounts about the other people he works with, professionals or locals All of this is told in a friendly almost conversational style which makes it easy to read and connect with, a great feat given I have never been in war torn country He is self deprecating and often tells his tales with humour, although I would not like to be between him and a story as he comes across as quite ruthless at times necessary in his profession I suppose.Most of the people who did not enjoy this book were concerned about the frequent mentions of the BBC It is true that there are many mentions, not always positive This seems reasonable to me given that he has worked most of his life for them I liked all the beeb talk as it gave some interesting insights and a side of the long standing debate that I have not previously heard, but I can understand that it would irritate others Perhaps the problem is that this book is not exactly autobiography, like a couple of his others, but nor is it a straightforward text on the Afghan war Essentially this book is a loose collection personal reflections and opinions bound together by the over arcing narrative of his experience of the Afghan war. Interesting, compelling and humorous John Simpson writes about life as a foreign war correspondent for the BBC, centred around the story of his reporting in Afghanistan from August through November 2001 But it s about than events in AfghanistanJohn Simpson draws on thirty odd years of experience at the BBC, where he began in the 1960s and worked with veteran journalists of the time He describes the many changes in the way news is reported and gathered, and indeed, in the change in our expectations of news reporting.In particular, I found the discussion of the logistics of news gathering intriguing, and it has made me view television news reports in a different light.I like the way John Simpson explains some of his frustrations when trying to get a short, interesting piece back to the BBC in London The effort involved is really quite staggering, when you consider that the result is a report on an evening news programme which lasts from just 60 to 120 seconds.My favourite anecdote in the book is where he describes the TV crew s attempt to cross the Amudarya river the river formerly known as the Oxus Your ship , indicates one of the Afghan guides But our ship wasn t a ship All it was, was four large tractor tyres bound together with rope and supporting a wooden frame which was covered with straw. I sometimes wonder if it is John Simpson s integrity that shines through in his books rather than his writing skills Simpson s words sometimes clutter his stories, as if he were attempting poetry when really his books come to life when his words are in plain english and in the short reportage style he must have honed whilst at the BBC.That comment aside, this is one of John s best books and he is his usual honest self, and he must be one of the few people left in the media who is not afraid to give a personal opinion without fear For that reason, his works should be read by all. i chose this product as he is a very good journalist who has travelled to many places.well worth reading very enjoyable It s well worth checking the reviews before buying this book as I think the title is a little misleading Simpson is unquestionably an intelligent writer and can be endearingly self depracating African asylum story and this is when I think he managed to hold my attention best However those who are expecting fascinating tales from Simpson s vast travels will be sorely disappointed To be fair the author does touch on many of his Afghan and other experiences usually at the beginning of each new chapter but then loses the plot half way through the page and returns to his undoubtedly favourite subject, The BBC The BBC seems to be the main focus of the book and also the inspiration for the title This is an ok read but not as fascinating as I had hoped.