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Ryszard Kapuscinski was the foreign correspondent par excellence, someone who could simultaneously travel rough, report the story, appreciate and approach the local people on their own terms, and weave his experiences into a narrative of uncommon breadth and intelligence And it s evenimpressive when you realize he s covering Africa for the presumably shoestring Polish communist press Books like these up the ante for book length journalism, and show what an absolute shit job the puppets e Ryszard Kapuscinski was the foreign correspondent par excellence, someone who could simultaneously travel rough, report the story, appreciate and approach the local people on their own terms, and weave his experiences into a narrative of uncommon breadth and intelligence And it s evenimpressive when you realize he s covering Africa for the presumably shoestring Polish communist press Books like these up the ante for book length journalism, and show what an absolute shit job the puppets ensconced in the Times and the Post are doing A book like this would normally I would have imagined taken me very little time to read because I would devour it in a binge of gulpings and swallowings but it took me a good deal longer In part, for the simple reason that I was taken up with other things and couldn t find the freedom to absorb myself in his world as I would have liked but also for the equally simple but at the same time profound reason that there was just too much to take in.I listed it as epistolary and though it is not offic A book like this would normally I would have imagined taken me very little time to read because I would devour it in a binge of gulpings and swallowings but it took me a good deal longer In part, for the simple reason that I was taken up with other things and couldn t find the freedom to absorb myself in his world as I would have liked but also for the equally simple but at the same time profound reason that there was just too much to take in.I listed it as epistolary and though it is not officially so it reads like a series of letters across a long career working in the continent of Africa as it breaks free of colonialism and steps onwards into independence Sometimes this takes him on a positive journey but far too often it brings him into contact with the dark horror or vicious oppression and poverty Years ago i read Thomas Eidson s novel St Agnes stand in which a group of nuns are cornered in the desert of the US and as I read it my throat experienced the parched land in which they were caughtand i swear I felt thirsty As I read Kapuscinski s accounts of poverty and degradation and the destruction of hope and joy I swear I felt just a little of that pain and sadness He is masterful at making you see, of making you hear and smell and notice and this is a great grace Salman Rushdie talks somewhere about novels enabling us to meet and hear and encounter people from whom we would normally flee, this journalist does exactly the same thing.Across this book you journey through about 50 years and he touches down in various places and times Tyrants and despots crowd around for your attention alongside the poor and downtrodden The eternal optimist in his writing argues back and forth with the realist and some lovely achingly beautiful images come about He writes of political change and geographical oddities, he writes of celebration and colour and welcome and then flips the coin and there is hatred and fear and isolation but through it all is this really wonderful sense of his real love for the African peoples He does not shy away from the brutality and stupidity of things that have happened he drives home the guilt and irresponsibilty of the previous colonial powers whilst not ignoring the obvious culpability of the fools and, much worse, the thieves and thugs so often in power now but over riding it all his eternal optimist seems to gain the upper hand He writes fondly of the odd quirks and traditions and emphasizes the importance of cultures listening and learning and therefore beginning to understand each other even if not agreeing I suppose, in many ways, this is an imprtant service his writing might achieve He sometimes writes with his tongue firmly in his cheek and I found this an endearing breather after the sadness and bleakness of some of what he had to relate Speaking of a growing relationship with his driver, Omenka, with whom he worked he writes On the day we first met, I gave him nothing as we parted He walked away without so much as a good bye I dislike cold, formal relations between people and I felt bad So the next time I gave him 50 naira the local currency He said goodbye and smiled this, Kapuscinski relates, cheered him and so he gradually increased the amounts he gave to the driver and after each increase the man s response to him also deepened until without stretching this story out any longer, suffice it to say that I ended up showering him with so many naira that we were simply unable to part Omenka s voice was always trembling with emotion, and with tears in his eyes he would swear his everlasting devotion and fidelity This humour might seem when taken out of context to be a belitling or criticizing of the driver but within the framework of Kapuscinski s admiration for Africa and its peoples it does not read like that I chose the example purely cos it made me smile and was a wonderful example of his ability to create in such a way that you met the people of whom he was speaking.There are so many lovely passages that i could just lift sentences and phrases from almost every chapter but that would be to fragment what is a really lovely creation, someone described it as a mosaic and that is a great image For him Africa is ever alert to its chance for change and growth and so maybe the very last paragraph is a wonderful clarion call of hope and a good quotation on which to finish Everyone walked in silence to their huts, and the boys snuffed out the lights on the tables It was still night, but Africa s most dazzling moment was approaching the break of day This is insightful prose written by a Polish journalist who spent years traveling around Africa beginning in the 1950s It is a collection of essays that follow Kapuscinski s time spent in Africa during coups, wars, racial tensions, hunger, starvation, sickness, andThough I didn t love the parts of the book that seemed highly dramatized, what I really liked about this is that Kapuscinski gets into the experience, living it and detailing it He s not a removed journalist In fact, this This is insightful prose written by a Polish journalist who spent years traveling around Africa beginning in the 1950s It is a collection of essays that follow Kapuscinski s time spent in Africa during coups, wars, racial tensions, hunger, starvation, sickness, andThough I didn t love the parts of the book that seemed highly dramatized, what I really liked about this is that Kapuscinski gets into the experience, living it and detailing it He s not a removed journalist In fact, this book reads like a great collection of stories He talks about the racial tensions of that time, the distinctive culture of each country in Africa, the political climate, the people, the food, the terrain, and his own vulnerabilities There is some sun, even with the shadow.It is a book filled with details, vivid descriptions, dialect, and history, narrated with storytelling ease It is the type of book which intertwines serious journalism with storytelling very appealing Goodreads changed my experience with this book For much of the time I was reading it, I was mesmerized by the writing, flabbergasted by some of the information about Africa, and convinced I was encountering the continent in a nuanced and subtle and authentic manner I planned to give a copy to my husband for his birthday and to recommend it to my book group Curious about what other readers thought, I looked at some of the almost 500 reviews of it on goodreads, and it was there that I came acro Goodreads changed my experience with this book For much of the time I was reading it, I was mesmerized by the writing, flabbergasted by some of the information about Africa, and convinced I was encountering the continent in a nuanced and subtle and authentic manner I planned to give a copy to my husband for his birthday and to recommend it to my book group Curious about what other readers thought, I looked at some of the almost 500 reviews of it on goodreads, and it was there that I came across one reader s reference to John Ryle s 2001 review of the book in the Times Literary Supplement http www.richardwebster.net johnryle.html Persuasive and beautifully crafted, that review points out numerous errors of fact within Shadow of the Sun errors that Ryle argues betray Kapu ci ski to bemythmaker than journalist Apparently some readers have argued that some of his errors don t matter To me they do When Kapu ci ski tells us, for instance, that the only bookstore in all of Ethiopia is on the university campus there and that it was completely empty when he visited it and that this is the situation in most of Africa, it makes a profound impression me When Ryle, the scholar, tells us that on his last visit, there were at least a half a dozen bookshops in Addis Ababa, all with books for sale, in many languages, I have to conclude that Kapu ci ski was either disgracefully ignorant or downright deceptive in crafting his tropical baroque Ryle s term fables The long list of other errors in Ryle s review are similarly damning.It s such a shame Kapu ci ski may have been fearless and intrepid and he certainly wrote like a master But now he s filled my mind with unforgettable images of Africa that I cannot trust I have only read a few book by Kapuscinski, one of which was a Penguin Great Journeys book Kapu ci ski was a Polish journalist who died in 2007, and who spent time in Africa between the late 1950ies and the 1990ies Africa was not his only beat, but when he spent time there he spent time with the people and shared their lives when he could He was the first Polish foreign correspondent to cover Africa and he was always seriously underfunded compared with those representing the big European and American publications and agencies What he lacked in funds he made up in ingenuity and a wi Kapu ci ski was a Polish journalist who died in 2007, and who spent time in Africa between the late 1950ies and the 1990ies Africa was not his only beat, but when he spent time there he spent time with the people and shared their lives when he could He was the first Polish foreign correspondent to cover Africa and he was always seriously underfunded compared with those representing the big European and American publications and agencies What he lacked in funds he made up in ingenuity and a willingness to share in the lives of Africans with the result that he got the big stories a coup in Zanzibar is the subject of one piece but also the stories about the little people He went to visit friends in remote villages where there wasn t enough to eat He traveled in war zones He met the dictators and sadists who were independent Africa s first rulers Once traveling with Greek correspondent in the region of Lake Victoria, he took refuge in a hut where he collapsed, exhausted, into a bunk only to discover a huge Egyptian cobra coiled underneath He and the Greek threw their weight behind a huge metal container their only weapon and tried to crush it The canister did not cut into the snake and they had to wrestle it to death He got cerebral malaria, nearly died, and lived with the after affects for years.The pieces in this book are beautifully written, undoubtedly due in part of the translator Not like journalistic pieces one usually reads, with their pyramid structure and journalistic phrases and short cuts Kapu ci ski s scope was broader, from the latest war or coup to serious attempts to characterize African people He put himself on the line in every piece it was personal, heartfelt and wise He engaged seriously with people, didn t just watch from afar or interview the participants.One learns a great deal about the history of Africa and why in a sense there was no history until the Europeans started to divide Africa up into colonies and zones of interest Why there d never be a history because there were no documents at all, only the oral stories the people told The chapter on Rwanda is worth the purchase of the book alone Kapu ci ski put the genocide in a context which none of the several books I read on the subject of the Rwandan genocide was able to do Similarly, another long chapter on a visit to Liberia developed a context for the awful civil wars which began when an army sergeant took charge and carved up the President in his bed without even a plan for what he d do when he became leader and was eventually carved up himself That essay ends when Kapu ci ski is allowed to travel up country and meet the tribal people which the ruling Americo Liberians called aboriginals when I visited in 1965 They are coming into Monrovia across a bridge and Kapu ci ski sees a naked man with a Kalashnikov, the others carefully stepping out of his way A madman with a Kalashnikov is how he, quite appropriately, ends the essay.Kapu ci ski s focus in this book is mostly East Africa and the Sahara and Sanhel, a few mentions of West Africa, not much of Southern Africa Not much about thecivilized parts of Northern Africa Kapu ci ski first went to Africa in 1957 and, over the next forty years, returned whenever he could He says I travelled extensively, avoiding official routes, palaces, important personages, and high level politics Instead, I opted to hitch rides on passing trucks, wander with nomads through the desert, be the guest of peasants of the tropical savannah Their life is endless toil, a torment they endure with astonishing patience and good humor This is therefore not a book about Africa, but rat Kapu ci ski first went to Africa in 1957 and, over the next forty years, returned whenever he could He says I travelled extensively, avoiding official routes, palaces, important personages, and high level politics Instead, I opted to hitch rides on passing trucks, wander with nomads through the desert, be the guest of peasants of the tropical savannah Their life is endless toil, a torment they endure with astonishing patience and good humor This is therefore not a book about Africa, but rather about some people from there about encounters with them, and time spent together From Ghana to Guinea, Angola to Addis Abababa, he observed, analysed and wrote I m reading a biography of him now, and the reports of his early years would have been infused with socialist zeal for the causes of African nationalism emerging from colonialism As well as immediate reports of events wars, revolutions, coups he wrote longer reports that analysed the background political, social and economic factors underlying immediate events It s these, I suspect, that formed the basis for this book, because naive enthusiasm for radical change had, through experience, been replaced by a full awareness that the regimes of African rulers could be just as brutal and exploitative as those of outside occupiers, and in the case of rulers such as Idi Amn, far worse, than could have been imagined.Kapu ci ski referred to his writing as literary reportage , setting it apart from routine agency journalism The quality of his writing was exceptionally important to him, to the point where his output was often less than his employers would have liked This has been an important book for me to read, as I really know very little of Africa, apart from the outlines of its history and geography, and the wars, famines and violence that fill our news services Certainly, the latter feature largely in The Shadow of the Sun, but Kapu ci ski does spend time away from the European enclaves in towns and cities, with ordinary people and in the country areas where transport is almost non existent Without transport, he emphasises, exchange is difficult and trade almost impossible Poverty is inevitable in regions with no transport Another one of those ideas that states the obvious, and shifts the way you see things ever after I borrowed a copy from the library, and have now ordered two copies one for us and one for our son I d like to know if there is anything comparable that isrecent, that could look back on the last 15 years Shifting seamlessly from vignettes of daily life to grand excursions into Africa s turbulent political past, Kapuscinski zig zags across vast expanses of scorching desert and lush greenery in this masterful piece of journalistic travel writing He describes people, politics and landscape with equal ease The lioness stalking in the tall grasses is as riveting as the utterly fascinating character study of Idi Amin.The first chapter was studded with generalisations about Africa and Africans that m Shifting seamlessly from vignettes of daily life to grand excursions into Africa s turbulent political past, Kapuscinski zig zags across vast expanses of scorching desert and lush greenery in this masterful piece of journalistic travel writing He describes people, politics and landscape with equal ease The lioness stalking in the tall grasses is as riveting as the utterly fascinating character study of Idi Amin.The first chapter was studded with generalisations about Africa and Africans that made my inner anthropologist cringe, and is the main reason I am docking this book one star I am pleased to note that he dropped the act soon afterward to delve into the swirling mass of stories he painstakingly picked from his decades of experience on the continent He breathes in the poverty around him its raw smells, its despairing, languishing presence The chapter on Liberia, a country I knew very little about, was absolutely terrifying Kapuscinski will zip you across the continent with dizzying alacrity and plunge you waist deep into the lives of a scarcely known tribe the Amba, the Kakwa, the Krahn Child soldiers, genocide, and the spectre of death haunt these pages My heart broke then broke again The dusty, treacherous drives and the oppressive heat come alive Flickering candlelight filled my bedroom and my throat ached with his maddening thirst If you have ever been to Africa, this book will transport you back there If not, this book offers some of the best armchair travelling I ve yet encountered The population of Africa was a gigantic, matted, crisscrossing web, spanning the entire continent and in constant motion, endlessly undulating, bunching up in one place and spreading out in another, a rich fabric, a colourful arras Ryszard Kapuscinski, The Shadow of the SunA man I d unfortunately never heard of wrote one of the most engaging historical reflections I ve ve ever read Ryszard Kapuscinski reported on African events for a Polish newspaper for over 40 years He was definitely in The population of Africa was a gigantic, matted, crisscrossing web, spanning the entire continent and in constant motion, endlessly undulating, bunching up in one place and spreading out in another, a rich fabric, a colourful arras Ryszard Kapuscinski, The Shadow of the SunA man I d unfortunately never heard of wrote one of the most engaging historical reflections I ve ve ever read Ryszard Kapuscinski reported on African events for a Polish newspaper for over 40 years He was definitely in Africa at the right times during the fights for independence, military coups and so on Kapuscinski placed events like the Rwandan genocide and the lesser known Burundian genocide that happened alongside it in their cultural and historical contexts.There were many surprises along the way, the biggest shocker for me being the fact that the descendants of former slaves , the Americo Liberians, just about re enacted what they had been through in America when they settled in Liberia among the indigenous Africans It s definitely a reminder of how history is often repeated.Why I think this stands out as a historical account is not only because of the proximity of the writer to the actual events, but also his observations I am always surprised when a non African writer tries to understand the culture, in a non judgemental or critical way, as pessimistic as that may sound Kapuscinski was definitely an observer and tried to understand things that were foreign to him, things such as the African concept of time , which I found very interesting and enlightening The European and the African have an entirely different concept of time In the European worldview, time exists outside man, exists objectively, and has measurable and linear characteristics Africans apprehend time differently For them, it is a much looser concept,open, elastic, subjective It is man who influences time, its shape, course and rhythm Ryszard Kapuscinski, The Shadow of the SunThe author showed the complexity of the African society, the fact that it s not homogeneous in the least.A very easy, entertaining read with passages of the most beautiful and poetic language A great introduction to African history which encouraged me to learnabout the events in depth ^FREE PDF ↞ Ebano ⇜ Ryszard Kapuscinski si cala nel continente africano e se ne lascia sommergere, rifuggendo tappe obbligate, stereotipi e luoghi comuni Va ad abitare nelle case dei sobborghi pi poveri, brulicanti di scarafaggi e schiacciate dal caldo, si ammala di malaria cerebrale rischia la morte per mano di un guerriero Kapuscinski non perde mai lo sguardo lucido e penetrante del reporter e non rinuncia all affabulazione del grande narratore