'A fascinating history of the 20th century seen from the peculiar vantage point of the hassled hack, rushing to file his copy, hemmed in by censors, his own prejudices, and the demands of his proprietor and editor ... Simpson is alive to the absurdities of our calling, but this is a profoundly serious book, an attempt to work out why some [reporters] stand apart.' --The Times
`This grand panjandrum of BBC TV journalism has the personal authority and professional firepower to give credibility to a detailed inquiry into the state of British journalism...This powerful book, well researched, well structured and consistent does Simpson credit as a craftsman journalist who is prepared to expose the vices of his own arrogant and rogue-ridden trade - a trade that is always more ready to name and shame others than to report on its own shortcomings.' --Iain Finlayson, Saga Magazine
`Unreliable Sources is a lively and refreshing partisan account...what raises Simpson above his peers: a courage, a literacy and an intelligence that places him in the tradition of those he reveres, like Gellhorn herself. That's why his conclusion is especially gratifying. "Of all the newspapers in this study, The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph probably come out of it best".'
--Nicholas Shakespeare, Daily Telegraph
`Simpson is not just admirably clear on the obligation to truth in journalism, which the public deserves; he is also clear on a side of it that's not often seen.' --Giles Foden, The Guardian
`Simpson has a newsman's forensic nose for the continuities amid the chaos of war, and his conviction is that those on the ground almost always know best.' --Anne McElvoy, New Statesman
`Unreliable Sources is an easy read, brimming with cogent and often caustic judgments.' --Christopher Silvester, Daily Express
`It is a massive undertaking...his knowledge and experience - he can spot the rogues and is not overly romantic about the good guys - provide an informed commentary.'
--Robert Chesshyre, The Literary Review
`Lively and intelligent analysis...but for Murdoch, a man as independent-minded as John Simpson could never have enjoyed such international renown or have written a book as authoritative as it is enjoyable...'
--Philip Ziegler, The Spectator
`A cri de Coeur by Simpson for the old, familiar world of the print media, "the star" reporter and the ability to move public opinion through language and force of despatch.'
--Keith Simpson, Total Politics
Through many decades of groundbreaking journalism, John Simpson has become not only one of the most recognisable and trusted British personalities, but has transferred his skill to books with multiple bestselling success. With his new book he turns his eye to how Great Britain has been transformed by its free press down the years. He shows how, while the press likes to pretend it's independent, they have enjoyed the power they have over the events they report and have at times exercised it irresponsibly. He examines how it changed the world and changed itself over the course of the last hundred years, from the creation of the Daily Mail and the first stokings of anti-German sentiment in the years leading up to the First World War, to the Sun's propping up of the Thatcher government, and beyond. In this self-analysis from one of the pillars of modern journalism some searching questions are asked, including whether the press can ever be truly free and whether we would desire it to be so. Always incisive, brilliantly readable and never shy of controversy, Unreliable Sources sees John Simpson at the height of his game as one of Britain's foremost commentators.