The Emperor: Downfall of an Autocrat (A Helen and Kurt Wolff book)

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9780151287710: The Emperor: Downfall of an Autocrat (A Helen and Kurt Wolff book)

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

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Product Description:

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.

Review:

""[The Emperor]" transcends reportage, becoming a nightmare of power... An unforgettable, fiercely comic, and finally compassionate book."--Salman Rushdie "Kapuscinski transcends the limitations of journalism and writes with the narrative power of a Conrad or Kipling or Orwell."--Blake Morrison "A Stunning exhibit; the interviewed subjects. . .enunciate their memories of the days of Haile Selassie with a magical elegance that. . .achieves poetry and aphorism."--John Updike, "The New Yorker"

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