The Emperor: Downfall of an Autocrat (Penguin Classics)

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9780141188034: The Emperor: Downfall of an Autocrat (Penguin Classics)

Haile Selassie, King of Kings, Elect of God, Lion of Judah, His Most Puissant Majesty and Distinguished Highness the Emperor of Ethiopia, reigned from 1930 until he was overthrown by the army in 1974. While the fighting still raged, Ryszard Kapuscinski, Poland's leading foreign correspondent, traveled to Ethiopia to seek out and interview Selassie's servants and closest associates on how the Emperor had ruled and why he fell. This "sensitive, powerful. . .history" (The New York Review of Books) is Kapuscinski's rendition of their accounts—humorous, frightening, sad, groteque—of a man living amidst nearly unimaginable pomp and luxury while his people teetered netween hunger and starvation.

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Haile Selassie, His Most Puissant Majesty and Distinguished Highness the Emperor of Ethiopia, enjoyed a 44-year reign until his own army gave him the boot in 1974. In the days following the coup, the Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski traveled to Ethiopia and sought out members of the imperial court for interviews.

His composite portrait of Selassie's crumbling imperium is an astonishing, wildly funny creation, beginning with the very first interview. "It was a small dog," recalls an anonymous functionary, "a Japanese breed. His name was Lulu. He was allowed to sleep in the Emperor's great bed. During various ceremonies, he would run away from the Emperor's lap and pee on dignitaries' shoes. The august gentlemen were not allowed to flinch or make the slightest gesture when they felt their feet getting wet. I had to walk among the dignitaries and wipe the urine from their shoes with a satin cloth. This was my job for ten years." (Well, it's a living.)

Elsewhere, the interviewees venture into tragic or grotesque or downright unbelievable terrain. Kapuscinski has shaped their testimonies into an eloquent whole, and while he never alludes to the totalitarian regime that ruled his native Poland during the same period, the analogy is impossible to ignore.

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"[The Emperor] transcends reportage, becoming a nightmare of power... An unforgettable, fiercely comic, and finally compassionate book."--Salman Rushdie

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Ryszard Kapuscinski
Verlag: Penguin UK Jun 2011 (2011)
ISBN 10: 0141188030 ISBN 13: 9780141188034
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Buchbeschreibung Penguin UK Jun 2011, 2011. Taschenbuch. Buchzustand: Neu. Neuware - The Penguin Modern Classics edition of Ryszard Kapuscinski's The Emperor is translated by William R. Brand and Katarzyna Mroczkowska-Brand, with an introduction by Neal Ascherton. After the deposition of Haile Selassie in 1974, which ended the ancient rule of the Abyssinian monarchy, Ryszard Kapuscinski travelled to Ethiopia and sought out surviving courtiers to tell their stories. Here, their eloquent and ironic voices depict the lavish, corrupt world they had known - from the rituals, hierarchies and intrigues at court to the vagaries of a ruler who maintained absolute power over his impoverished people. They describe his inexorable downfall as the Ethiopian military approach, strange omens appear in the sky and courtiers vanish, until only the Emperor and his valet remain in the deserted palace, awaiting their fate. Dramatic and mesmerising, The Emperor is one of the great works of reportage and a haunting epitaph on the last moments of a dying regime. Ryszard Kapuscinski (1932-2007) was born in Pinsk, now in Belarus. Kapuscinski was the pre-eminent writer among Polish reporters. His best-known book is a reportage-novel of the decline of Haile Selassie's anachronistic regime in Ethiopia - The Emperor , which has been translated into many languages. Shah of Shahs , about the last Shah of Iran, and Imperium , about the last days of the Soviet Union, have enjoyed similar success. If you enjoyed The Emperor , you might like Norman Mailer's The Fight , also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'Stunning . a magical eloquence' John Updike, New Yorker '[The Emperor] transcends reportage, becoming a nightmare of power . An unforgettable, fiercely comic, and finally compassionate book' Salman Rushdie 'Kapuscinski trascends the limitations of journalism and writes with the narrative power of a Conrad or Kipling or Orwell' Blake Morrison 192 pp. Englisch. Artikel-Nr. 9780141188034

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