I don’t know John Simpson personally but followed him over the years reporting for the BBC in troubled areas of the world and consider him as arguably one of the great war correspondents of his generation whose turn of phrase makes him uniquely iconic in that hazardous profession.
Oggy Boytchev’s book, Simpson & I, which Quartet published recently, is an eye-opener to a world where conflict and peril intertwine to give the reader an insight into the men who risk their lives reporting from the battlefield, with little concern for their safety in order to keep us informed as to the cruelties of war and the sufferings of those caught in the midst of hostilities often not of their making.
Oggy, the Bulgarian asylum seeker who made Britain his home many years ago, knows Simpson at close quarters having accompanied him on many a mission fraught with danger from Iraq and beyond.
Being his right-hand man, Oggy himself grew in stature and learned a great deal about the inescapable barbarities of man to man and the inhumanity that becomes like a staple diet to those involved in armed confrontations.
Today, as the world is engaged in unspeakable turmoil and veering towards the brink of more deadly fights, Oggy’s book is itself a stark revelation of what goes on in the killing fields and the stress of those highly driven and gallant reporters who witness it all at a great cost to their psyche and well-being.
Order your copy now, as its relevance has never been more timely. Then perhaps you will consider yourself lucky, cocooned and sheltered from the evil that like the plague is relentless in the pursuit of its victims without the least remorse or a whiff of human consideration. All that is left for us to do is pray for redemption and hope for salvation.
Oggy’s book is a page-turner that you can ill afford to be without.