Simpson, William 1948(?)- (Bill Simpson)

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Simpson, William 1948(?)- (Bill Simpson)

PERSONAL:

Born c. 1948. Education: Attended Royal Air Force College, Cranwell.

ADDRESSES:

E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, entrepreneur, business owner, and biographer. Founder and CEO of an Internet-based company. Worked as the North American president of a hedge fund. Military service: Served as an officer in the British Royal Air Force.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Member of the British Empire (MBE), 1970; Order of the British Empire (OBE), 1988.

WRITINGS:

The Prince: The Secret Story of the World's Most Intriguing Royal, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Regan Books (New York, NY), 2006.

SIDELIGHTS:

William Simpson is a writer, biographer, and former member of the British Royal Air Force (RAF). Simpson entered the RAF as an aircraft apprentice in January, 1964, and after three years was selected to attend the Royal Air Force College, Cranwell, as an officer cadet. A military career of twenty-five years ended with command of an RAF base at Hendon, London, England, which he closed in 1987. Deciding to pursue a career in business, Simpson became involved in the financial world before setting up and directing an Internet company. However, a desire to write led him to retire a second time, to undertake a biography for which he would meet and interview some of the world's leading international political figures, including former presidents Nelson Mandela, George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton, and former secretaries of state James Baker and Colin Powell.

Simpson's first book, The Prince: The Secret Story of the World's Most Intriguing Royal, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, is a biography of highly placed power-broker, Saudi ambassador, and old friend, Prince Bandar. Simpson and Bandar had known each other during their military training in the mid-1960s at Cranwell, and a 2001 reunion of Cranwell colleagues brought the two together again, noted Tom Bradshaw in a profile of Simpson in the Guernsey Press and Star. When Simpson learned of Prince Bandar's illustrious career as an ambassador and major political player on the world stage, he felt that the Prince's life story would make a fascinating book, Bradshaw reported. With other mutual friends acting as intermediaries, Simpson and Prince Bandar eventually came together to create the biography.

The Prince traces Prince Bandar's early life and improbable but highly successful rise to international political power. "He was the illegitimate son of the Saudi defense minister, Prince Sultan, and a concubine of African descent, and the rise of this handsome, dark-skinned man was as close as you could find in Saudi Arabia to the improbable rags-to-riches plotlines of Vanity Fair or David Copperfield," observed David Ignatius in the Washington Post. As the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Bandar worked ceaselessly in ways that benefited the U.S. at home and in the Middle East, some of them less than savory, noted a Kirkus Reviews critic. He was a major voice in support of war with Iraq after Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. He served as a conduit for money launder- ing during the Iran-Contra scandal. Prince Bandar's efforts have also been extremely helpful to the George W. Bush administration, so much so that the prince has been referred to in some circles by the epithet "Bandar Bush." Simpson also covers Prince Bandar's work on behalf of Saudi Arabia and his position on issues such as Palestine and peace in the Middle East. "Prince Bandar's achievements, international credibility and continuing global clout are extraordinary, and transcend the normal definitions of political and international relations analysis," observed Martin Seiff in the Washington Times. "Any reader interested in Middle East issues should read" Simpson's biography, remarked a contributor to California Bookwatch. "William Simpson has produced an exceptionally valuable and sympathetic, but nuanced and fair portrait of this remarkable man," commented Seiff.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

California Bookwatch, February, 2007, review of The Prince: The Secret Story of the World's Most Intriguing Royal, Prince Bandar bin Sultan.

Guernsey Press and Star, November 29, 2006, Tom Bradshaw, "By Royal Appointment," profile of William Simpson.

Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2006, review of The Prince, p. 892.

New York Post, December 31, 2006, Joseph Braude, review of The Prince.

Washington Post Book World, November 5, 2006, David Ignatius, "The Operator," review of The Prince, p. 7.

Washington Times, December 5, 2006, Martin Sieff, "Royalty and Diplomacy," review of The Prince.

ONLINE

Bill's Belgian Medals Web site,http://www.belgianmedals.com/ (March 28, 2007).

The Prince: The Secret Story of the World's Most Intriguing Royal, Prince Bandar bin Sultan,http://www.prince-bandar.com (May 10, 2007).