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What makes an extremist? From obscure cults to revolutionary movements, people have always been seduced by fringe beliefs. And in today’s deeply divided world, more people than ever are drawn to polarising ideologies. All too often we simply condemn those whose positions offend us, instead of trying to understand what draws people to the far edges of society — and what can pull them back again.

In Far Out: Encounters with Extremists, we meet eight people from across religious, ideological, and national divides who found themselves drawn to radical beliefs, including a young man who became the face of white supremacy in Trump-era America, a Norwegian woman sucked into a revolutionary conspiracy in the 1980s, a schoolboy who left Britain to fight in Syria, and an Australian from the far-left Antifa movement.

By immersing us in their stories, McDonald-Gibson challenges our ideas of who or what an extremist is, and shows us not only what we can do to prevent extremism in the future, but how we can start healing the rifts in our world today.

Book no.1


Far Out is an excellent mix of investigative journalism, entertaining storytelling and intelligent analysis. Its individual stories are like pieces of a puzzle that McDonald-Gibson assembles to offer deeply human insights into the drivers of radicalisation and extremism

Julia Eber, author of

Going Dark

An eye opening and often moving account of how extremist thought takes hold. In Far Out, McDonald-Gibson asks us to open our hearts to those on the political extremes-for those with the most hateful views are the most in need of our forbearance and tolerance. A thoughtful and thought-provoking read

Cal Flyn, author of

Islands of Abandonment

‘McDonald-Gibson goes where many journalists fear to tread: into the hearts of people routinely demonised by the rest of the media. Their stories will intrigue and surprise you: this is an urgent, compelling book of the utmost necessity’ 

Ben Rawlence, author of The Treeline

Riot police are shutting down borders, 800 lives are lost in a single shipwreck, a boy’s body washes up on a beach: this is the European Union in summer 2015.


But how did a bloc founded upon the values of human rights and dignity for all reach this point? And what was driving millions of desperate people to risk their lives on the Mediterranean? Charlotte McDonald-Gibson has spent years reporting on every aspect of Europe’s refugee crisis, and Cast Away: Stories of Survival from Europe's Refugee Crisis offers a vivid glimpse of the personal dilemmas, pressures, choices and hopes that lie beneath the headlines.

Charlotte McDonald-Gibson's first book was published by Granta in 2016. Critically-acclaimed, Cast Away was nominated for four awards including the New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism.



Gripping storytelling.   McDonald-Gibson balances individual stories with a wider historical sweep and offers insights into the extraordinary political and historical contexts of the migrants' home countries... [One of] the most important books you will read this year'

The Irish Times

A closely reported, passionately argued, often deeply moving account of five refugees' journeys to Europe... Cast Away starts to do for the refugees what British abolitionists did for the slave trade... mobilise eyewitness testimony to promote empathy, and through empathy, better policy'

The Guardian,

Book of the Week

McDonald-Gibson keenly evokes the hell of their voyages... To read these vivid stories is to understand not just the enormity of what is taking place, but the courage and desperation of those who embark on them'

The New Statesman

Majid Hussain

Majid was 14 when he was forced to flee Nigeria after his father was killed in sectarian violence, and found himself trapped in a life of slavery.

Read an extract of his story on Long Reads. 

Sina Habte

Sina escaped the military regime in Eritrea when she was six months pregnant, desperate to find a safe life for her unborn son.

Read an extract of her story in The Observer

Mohammed Kazkji

Mohammed left Syria to avoid being drafted to fight for Assad, then found himself caught in Libya's civil war.

Read an extract of his story in TIME


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