Not Quite World's End: A Traveller's Tales by John Simpson
John Simpson has been travelling the world as a journalist for forty years, reporting on the many disasters that have befallen us in that time. Today, at a time when many of us might legitimately believe that the end of the world truly is nigh, he takes a rather different view. For Simpson, perhaps better than anyone, knows that though war, disease, terrorism, natural disasters and crime always seem about to overwhelm us, the reality is that the great events that afflict us have not caused the world to stop turning. Some things change, indeed, but others stay much the same and we should perhaps remember that every generation worries about the things it reads in newspapers.
Here, then, Simpson looks at the world's troubles - the Middle East, global warming, population explosion - and takes the view that it's nowhere near its end. His vivid prose, humanity and clear-sightedness, and the wonderful anecdotes about the many strange people and peculiar places he has come across - from Robert Mugabe to the Bushmen of the Kalahari, from Chelsea to China, from Saddam Hussein to Hollywood stars - all add up to a richly satisfying read. And with his long experience and his remarkable ability to explain what's really going on out there, he offers us all a crumb of comfort in desperate times.