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A Rough Guide To The Dark Side
 
 

A Rough Guide To The Dark Side [Kindle Edition]

Daniel Simpson
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Review

"Amazing ... uses humor as Shakespeare did - to lighten the load of a heavy, dark, and important story" (John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hitman)


"The archetypal innocent abroad, Daniel Simpson thought he could help the locals ... But his project became a study in modern corruption, with a learning curve so steep it was more like a suicide's screaming spiral." (Michela Wrong, author of It's Our Turn To Eat)


"A funny, angry and insightful indictment of modern media practice ... Simpson's writing demonstrates that we not only deserve better journalism, but that it's still out there: observing, investigating and informing with humanity and passion." (A.L. Kennedy, writer and comedian)


"A courageous quest in pursuit of truth ... A Rough Guide To The Dark Side is a telling memoir, which shows that while music has the power to change the world, it is the heart of the individual that truly makes a difference." (Michael Lang, co-producer of Woodstock)

Book Description

Ever dreamed of changing the world? Daniel Simpson shows how not to do it.His memoir charts a gonzo career at The New York Times. Ambitious and idealistic, he was hired to report on the Balkans but quit within months, freaked out by his editor's zeal for starting wars. Disillusioned, Daniel went native in Belgrade. Together with the charismatic G, who'd appeared one night in lavish puffs of dope smoke, he decided to organize Serbia's version of Woodstock: a festival on an island in the Danube.Music could revolutionize the country. It was run by a wartime mafia, and most young people dreamed of leaving. But what if they made it Ibiza crossed with Glastonbury? To fund this transition, they hustled Daniel's contacts, but shady local businessmen had other ideas. Mr Big muscled in, and embroiled them with his henchmen.Why do good intentions go awry? With brutally honest humor, Daniel recounts his journey to the edge, and a desperate drug-fuelled quest for the truth. A Rough Guide To The Dark Side is a real-life trip through Balkan organized crime. More irreverent than McMafia, it has the vicarious kicks of Mr Nice and Shantaram, in the travelogue style of Bill Bryson or Tony Hawks, but with added bile and an overdose of hubris.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 515 KB
  • Print Length: 253 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1780993072
  • Publisher: Zero Books; Reprint edition (31 Aug 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0092P054K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #591,815 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Daniel Simpson is a renegade correspondent, and author of A Rough Guide to the Dark Side, which recounts why he gave up his job to join the mob.

Born in England in 1974, he read history at Cambridge then trained as a journalist with Reuters, before being hired by The New York Times. He resigned after learning that news promotes the interests of the powerful. Profits trump people and planet, whatever the costs.

To challenge that bias with sustainable alternatives, Daniel once published a fake Financial Times, depicting a world less addicted to economic growth. Its leading article was reprinted in the British Journalism Review.

His recent work focuses on yoga, which he juggles with investigative research. He lives somewhere between the UK and northern India.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars telling it how it is, warts and all 7 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book in its first fifty pages tells you everything you didn't want to believe about how the giants of western news media follow the powers that be, behaving not like feverish news hounds but like slavish lap dogs, following the trail set for them by their political masters without questioning the course they're on. The author concentrates on his previous employer, the New York Times, which views itself not as a searchlight on power, but as the public expression of the US power. PR for the powerful, you might say. Nice.
The author's own searchlight could equally be applied to many other western media miscreants, but he then turns it on himself, and is equally forthright. He openly admits his own societal sins, most specifically his search for drugs and consumption of them, their effects and his experiences in general, against the backdrop of a search to become the man he wants to be by taking on a new life path.
In taking this road, he is helped by the prospect dangled before him by a much-travelled new acquaintance (from Canada to London's Shepherd's Bush Green) that they create a cathartic rock festival in Serbia. This leads him to the third 'dark side' of his book, the hidden cronyism, money-making and manipulation of Serbia's post-Milosevic oligarchs, institutions and men of influence behind the scenes in the noughties. Much of what he describes could apply to many countries in Eastern Europe. He sees and feels things at first hand, but the insight into these galling experiences comes mainly through the eyes of his new Serbian business partner (who views such happenings in Serbia as the natural result and expression in European micro-scale of all that the western Powers have done in and outside Serbia.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Rough Guide to the Dark Side was very funny but it also taught me loads about the Balkans without ever feeling like a lesson. It has also cured me of my prejudice against Serbs which I have been very ashamed of for a while. In fact, it has really made me want to go to Serbia - although I'm not sure everyone will have that reaction! I would have fallen hook line and sinker for the charismatic G, too. The book recounts some terrible mistakes and desperate times but it is also inspiring. It is a great tale of hope and shattered dreams but is somehow not depressing in any way. It exudes vitality and a love of life and is psychologically very insightful. It's also very well written!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, shocking, unique 6 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Offbeat, funny and irreverent, A Rough Guide to the Dark Side tells the story of a crazy project to stage a huge rock festival in Belgrade. Daniel Simpson exposes in grisly detail the seedy and destructive behaviour of a cast of eccentric characters and their dysfunctional way of life in the Balkans. On top of that he reveals the shockingly hollow nature of journalism today even at top organisations like the New York Times.
A unique tale vividly written through a haze of drugs. If it weren't true this story would be hard to believe.
A great read.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A Rough Guide to The Dark Side is a perfect title for Daniel Simpson's account of his adventures in Serbia shortly after the end of the Balkan wars -- after all, it was a hell of trip. He did what few people in his position would do. He quit his job at one of the world's top newspapers, abandoning the promise of an illustrious career because he no longer had faith in his employer. He chose freedom. What followed was a quest for a new identity, by organizing a rock festival. Did he find it? Yes he did. Not as a festival manager, that's evidently not his forte. But as a consummate writer buzzing with restless talent. A heady hash haze lingers over parts of this book but his prose punches through it on every page, describing with sparse, intense clarity his increasingly desperate struggle to arrange a gigantic music event in a country governed by a cabale of corrupt politicians and shady militiamen. It's an entertaining, thought-provoking read not just for music and dope fans but for the silent majority of us who yearn to ditch the day job and follow our instincts, for better or worse. Simpson took a risk and has come out on top with this work, which is worth more than a lifetime of slavish bylines -- however grand the masthead. I'm looking forward to his next one.
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