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The Shadow of the Sunby Ryszard Kapuscinski
Synopses & Reviews
In 1957, Ryszard Kapuscinski arrived in Africa to witness the beginning of the end of colonial rule as the first African correspondent of Poland's state newspaper. From the early days of independence in Ghana to the ongoing ethnic genocide in Rwanda, Kapuscinski has crisscrossed vast distances pursuing the swift, and often violent, events that followed liberation. Kapuscinski hitchhikes with caravans, wanders the Sahara with nomads, and lives in the poverty-stricken slums of Nigeria. He wrestles a king cobra to the death and suffers through a bout of malaria. What emerges is an extraordinary depiction of Africa--not as a group of nations or geographic locations--but as a vibrant and frequently joyous montage of peoples, cultures, and encounters. Kapuscinski's trenchant observations, wry analysis and overwhelming humanity paint a remarkable portrait of the continent and its people. His unorthodox approach and profound respect for the people he meets challenge conventional understandings of the modern problems faced by Africa at the dawn of the twenty-first century.
"Startling, sobering....A marvel of humane, sorrowful and lucid observation." The New York Times
"A wise, engaging close-up filled with faces, landscapes, rutted roads, and the daily perils of African life." BusinessWeek
"[Kapuscinski's] great strengths are his style and his gift for picking out stories that condense volumes of information into a single perfectly crafted passage." The Washington Post
"An astonishing piece of writing...as vital a book as any I've read in recent years, an outstanding introduction to the tangled threads of African culture and politics and a manual in the modes of human cruelty and redemption...Kapuscinski...may be the greatest journalist of our time....Kapuscinski bears his historical baggae lightly through the African landscape, but his inability to tell the story in the dispassionate tones of an outsider is what gives this visionary book such power." Mark Levine, Men's Journal
"A dazzling narrative historian, using his own experience as the principal archive....he is never less than clear and pungent; his short chapter on the genocidal hatreds of Rwanda is worth a hundred newspaper features....He brings the world to us as nobody else." Ian Jack, The Observer
"Kapuscinski doesn't just 'cover' Africa — he knows it. His perspective is both vast and uniquely informed." Keith Wilson, Focus
"His book most successfully conveys the charms, frustrations, tragedies, comedies, brutalities, and kindnesses of life in Africa....as an observer, and as a recorder of his observations, he is second to none." Anthony Daniels, Sunday Telegraph
"His is the first wide-ranging, elegant, aristocratic intelligence since Conrad's to bear on Africa in all its perplexity....Kapuscinski is a master of the charismatic shorthand that leaves the reader knowing all there is to know, yet wanting to know more." Jeremy Harding, Evening Standard
"Both subtle and haunting, a book written with love and longing, as sharp and life-enhancing as the sun that rises on an African morning." Anthony Sattin, Sunday Times
"An elliptical picture of African life that is intellectually acute and emotionally rich." Will Cohu, Daily Telegraph
"He has given the truest, least partial, most comprehensive and vivid account of what life is like on our planet. He is an unflinching witness and an exuberant stylist." Geoff Dyer, The Guardian
Compiled from four decades of reporting, this is celebrated journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski's most complete portrait of the Africa that he has made of the focus of his great career.
Kapuscinski does more than record the political and social upheavals that have followed the end of colonial rule; he immerses us in the culture as he hitchhikes with caravans, wanders the deserts with nomads and spends time as the guest of farmers, villagers, and missionaries. What emerges is a remarkable depiction of Africa — not as a group of nations — but as a vast montage of peoples, cultures, and encounters. Kapuscinski's unorthodox approach and his profound respect for the people he meets challenge conventional understandings of modern Africa.
About the Author
Ryszard Kapuscinski lives in Warsaw, Poland.
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