The Emperor: Downfall of an Autocrat, published in , is Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuściński’s analysis of the decline and fall of Haile Selassie’s regime in. While the fighting still raged, Ryszard Kapuscinski, Poland’s leading foreign correspondent, traveled to Ethiopia to seek out and interview Selassie’s servants . El Emperador. Front Cover. Ryszard Kapuscinski. Anagrama, Feb 28, Ryszard Kapuscinski was born in His books have been translated into
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Refresh and try again. Open Rhszard See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. 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 as Haile Selassie, King of Kings, Elect of God, Lion of Judah, His Most Puissant Majesty and Distinguished Highness the Emperor of Ethiopia, reigned from until he was overthrown by the army in 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.
Published March 13th by Vintage first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Emperorplease sign up. Lists with This Book. Nov 11, Rowena rated it liked it Shelves: It speaks to the undoing of African leaders.
The Emperor is a very dramatic account of Selassie’s and I did get a slightly clearer idea ryszrad who Selassie was. He was very progressive in many ways, and he was quite eccentric as well. However, the accounts sounded a bit too fictional to me. Perhaps this is my own error emprador having a wrong idea about what this book was trying to do. In my opinion, Kapuscinski is better suited to write short anecdotes and make anthropological observations while on his reporting assignments.
I feel that someone like Emperor Selassie and roads are named after him all around Africa after all is deserving of a more factual, in-depth, properly-documented account. This book whetted my appetite for learning more about Selassie and Ethiopia. It was hard for me to accept the content as the Ethiopian people I know speak highly of Selassie.
So many questions, not enough answers View all 14 comments. Apr 13, Hadrian rated it liked it Shelves: Fantastical story of the life and fall of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia. Dialogue seems tad polished to be from real interviews, and seems to me to be a pointed allegory for the Soviet Union.
View all 9 comments. Apr 25, Conrad rated it it was amazing Shelves: From the waning Gomulka regime forward, Kapuscinski fashioned a journalistic career out of exceedingly subtle swipes at the pretenses and tragicomic self-deception of Soviet-style Communism.
The Emperor is aimed at Haile Selassie, who Kapuscinski paints as a vapid, self-important ignoramus. How much of this is actually Selassie and how much is carefully picked in order to make fun of Stalin or Khrushchev or even Gomulka is up for debate, but that’s exactly what makes this book a masterpiece: I ca From the waning Gomulka regime forward, Kapuscinski fashioned a journalistic career out of exceedingly subtle swipes at the pretenses and tragicomic self-deception of Soviet-style Communism.
I can’t think of a more bitter catalog of the pathologies that accompany political power, and by the end it doesn’t matter all that much who’s in the limo, surrounded by Quislings and sycophants. One of the mysteries of this book is whether dictators like Selassie come into being due to good timing, canny manipulation, or people’s gullible belief that they can change their own nature.
Kapuscinski refuses to take sides on the question of which comes first, the Hitler or the Reich; he’s more of a muralist than a satirist, which is part of what makes The Emperor so satisfying. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. May 13, Tyler rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: The Emperor baffles any ready description.
The book’s structure takes a straightforward path. The author interviews courtiers, associates and servants of the Emperor The Emperor baffles any ready description. The author interviews courtiers, associates and servants of the Emperor Haile Selassie in the months just after his dethronement.
The fabric of the story gives us that answer, for Ethiopia was just such a place. And the answer is a mind-boggling no. But make no mistake, it is still a fully developed civilization, not some savage prehistoric amalgam.
Kapuscinski knows he has stumbled into something unique, a culture whose primeval foundation neither lends nor refuses itself to any obvious interpretation. In this emperor, this court, and this society, a primordial human drama demands its stage. Such a provenance makes conclusions or judgments about Ethiopia impossible to categorize. The declivities of class and hierarchy within this kingdom exceed anything known to man.
An antediluvian social stucture showcases the raw exercise of power at its stripped-down worst, absent any modern guile. By design, mediocrity trumps merit as a tool to balance power and maintain social order, turning the country into a kind of Ayn Rand novel come to life. Such an order inevitably clashes with the outside. But more decisive are the its own internal contradictions. The several speakers whose contributions build the story relate the details with elegance.
Everyone felt helpless before the seemingly magic force by which things autonomously appeared and disappeared, and nobody knew how to master or break that force. Even conversation deteriorated, losing its vigor and momentum. Conversations started but somehow never seemed to be completed. They always reached an invisible but perceptible point, beyond which silence fell.
The silence said, Everything is already known and clear, but clear in an obscure way, known unfathomably, dominating by being beyond helping.
Having confirmed this truth by a moment of silence, the conversation changed its direction and moved on to a different subject, a trivial, second-rate, second-hand subject. Their many points of view make truth a perspectival quest. Yet all the while the reader can detect a bigger picture getting lost in the details.
This regime outclasses modern ones in some ways: No violent purges or collective bloodbaths ever occur. But the extremes of hierarchy leave the tragic fates of the many to deface a benighted land. The writing speaks for itself.
Its object is unique. The story is a spellbinding discovery.
The Emperorin short, has all the qualities of a perfect book. You cannot go wrong choosing it to read. Mar 15, Sam rated it it was amazing Shelves: A little lesson in the blurred lines between reportage and fiction – a “detailed account” of the fall of Haile Sellasie given by the ministers and servants dl once waited upon him. Not, of course, that you’d ever believe these are direct transcriptions of interviews, or emperaxor Kapuscinski hasn’t kaouscinski and tailored these accounts as he sees fit, unless you believe all of the ministers speak in an identical fantastical ironical language.
I suppose if you have narrow ideas of what constitutes non A little lesson in the blurred lines between reportage and fiction – a “detailed account” emperadr the fall of Haile Sellasie given by the ministers and servants who once waited upon him. I suppose if you have narrow ideas of what constitutes nonfiction you might find this sort of thing offensive, but if you’ve already signed on to the concept that monkeying with the truth a little is the soul of all narrative, fictional or otherwise, it’s easy to give yourself over to the story provided here.
Of particular note are the amazing eemperador of Sellasie’s court pre-disillusion, and the accounts of the men who propped up the emperor’s legs on account of him being short in stature and therefore believed that they were personally responsible for “supporting the empire.
The Emperor by Ryszard Kapuściński
Also, according to those in the know, a winking satire of Communist bureaucratic wrangling! Also, according to others who are also in the know but don’t agree with the first people in the know, written as a Marxist propaganda tract to expose the futility of Western-sponsored capitalist schemes.
However will we discern the truth?! But from my resolutely non-partisan perspective, a grand old time indeed. Apr 05, Adam rated it it was amazing Shelves: The Emperor is a bizarre and at time grotesquely comic portrait of the last Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie. It is also a detail and evocative exploration of tyranny.
Kapuscinki in a much more impressionistic mood details the rule and fall of another tyrant the last Shah of Iran in the Shah of Shahs. By focusing on tyrants of U. Kadare to critique autocracy in genera,l as in general most dictatorships are the same wh The Emperor is a bizarre and at time grotesquely comic portrait of the last Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie. Kadare to critique autocracy in genera,l as in general most dictatorships are the same whatever the ideological coloring.
Both these texts are brutal, but starkly beautiful with fabulous impressionist writing that for all its dreamlike imagery and angular occurrences is filled with a passion for the innocents caught in the whims of brutal leaders and rebellions. Arguments can be made against these books as history and reportage, but as literature they remain luminous masterpieces, fluttering torches from the dark nights of the late 20th century.
Go to other writers for the facts, go Kapuscinski for something more. Oct 20, Boris Maksimovic rated it it was amazing.
Oct 13, Monica rated it really liked it Shelves: Great historical book describing the mood of the palace in Ethiopia under the rule of Haile Selassie. Excellent in its description of mood. You actually see the insanity and chaos that Selassie created and nurtured in his palace and metaphorically throughout his country.
And by the end of the book, you understand how the King of Kings was destroyed by the monster he created. The style was unlike any book I’d read in the past.