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Travels with Herodotusby Ryszard Kapuscinski
Synopses & Reviews
From the master of literary reportage whose acclaimed books include Shah of Shahs, The Emperor, and The Shadow of the Sun, an intimate account of his first youthful forays beyond the Iron Curtain.
Just out of university in 1955, Kapuscinski told his editor that he’d like to go abroad. Dreaming no farther than Czechoslovakia, the young reporter found himself sent to India. Wide-eyed and captivated, he would discover in those days his life’s work—to understand and describe the world in its remotest reaches, in all its multiplicity. From the rituals of sunrise at Persepolis to the incongruity of Louis Armstrong performing before a stone-faced crowd in Khartoum, Kapuscinski gives us the non-Western world as he first saw it, through still-virginal Western eyes.
The companion on his travels: a volume of Herodotus, a gift from his first boss. Whether in China, Poland, Iran, or the Congo, it was the “father of history”—and, as Kapuscinski would realize, of globalism—who helped the young correspondent to make sense of events, to find the story where it did not obviously exist. It is this great forerunner’s spirit—both supremely worldly and innately Occidental—that would continue to whet Kapuscinski’s ravenous appetite for discovering the broader world and that has made him our own indispensable companion on any leg of that perpetual journey.
The acclaimed Polish journalist describes his earliest odysseys into the world beyond the Iron Curtain, detailing his journeys of discovery to China, India, Iran, Africa, and beyond, accompanied by a volume of Herodotus, a gift from his first boss. 40,000 first printing.
From the renowned journalist comes this intimate account of his years in the field, traveling for the first time beyond the Iron Curtain to India, China, Ethiopia, and other exotic locales.
In the 1950s, Ryszard Kapuscinski finished university in Poland and became a foreign correspondent, hoping to go abroad – perhaps to Czechoslovakia. Instead, he was sent to India – the first stop on a decades-long tour of the world that took Kapuscinski from Iran to El Salvador, from Angola to Armenia. Revisiting his memories of traveling the globe with a copy of Herodotus' Histories in tow, Kapuscinski describes his awakening to the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of new environments, and how the words of the Greek historiographer helped shape his own view of an increasingly globalized world. Written with supreme eloquence and a constant eye to the global undercurrents that have shaped the last half-century, Travels with Herodotus is an exceptional chronicle of one man's journey across continents.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
Ryszard Kapuscinski, Poland’s most celebrated foreign correspondent, was born in 1932 in Pinsk (in what is now Belarus) and spent four decades reporting on Asia, Latin America, and Africa. He is also the author of Imperium, Another Day of Life, and The Soccer War. His books have been translated into twenty-eight languages. Kapuscinski died in 2007.
Table of Contents
Crossing the border — Condemned to India — The train station and the palace — Rabi sings the Upanishads — Chairman Mao's one hundred flowers — Chinese thought — Memory along the roadways of the world — The happiness and unhappiness of Croesus — The battle's end — On the origin of the gods — The view from the minaret — Armstrong's concert — The face of Zopyrus — The hare — Among dead kings and forgotten gods — Honors for the head of Histiaeus — At Doctor Ranke's — The Greek's technique — Before he is torn apart by dogs and birds — Xerxes — The oath of Athens — Time vanishes — The desert and the sea — The anchor — Black is beautiful — Scenes of passion and prudence — Herodotus's discovery — We stand in darkness, surrounded by light.
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