IMPERIUM
Ryszard Kapuscinski Published by:Vintage Books, 1999 Strony / Pages: 331, soft cover ISBN: 0-679-74780-X
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In an odd but honest recommendation of his own book, the peripatetic Kapuscinski, last seen traveling around Africa (The Soccer War, 1991), writes that his text "disintegrates and falls apart." How apt, considering his destinations, the restive borderlands of the USSR circa 1989. From the Caucasus Mountains to Central Asia, across Siberia, and arriving in cheerless, treeless Kolyma at the very end of the gulag archipelago, Kapuscinski combines his ornate impressions of the present with historical and literary vignettes of the past. Yet this unifying compositional concept becomes fairly haggard before long. Disquisitions on Armenia's ancient manuscripts lead up to the author's adventurous subterfuge to get himself to the war-torn town of Stepanakert. A visit to the fast-evaporating Aral Sea is serviceable, but his account of sneaking around the Kremlin (with events such as Beria's arrest thrown in), while mildly interesting, simply overexalts trivial details. Though episodic in character, this work manages to showcase the author's acuteness of observation of the empire's waning days, a dramatic period in itself. by:Gilbert Taylor

In this book, the author of The Soccer War (BRD 1991) writes of his travels throughout the Soviet Union. Although the focus is on journeys made between 1989 and 1991, Kapuscinski includes childhood memories and early travel experiences. "He divides his book into three sections: "First Encounters (1939-1967)"; "From a Bird's-Eye View (1989-1991)"; and "The Sequel Continues (1992-1993)." (Libr J) Originally published in Poland in 1993.

Between 1989 and 1991, the acclaimed author of The Soccer War traveled 40,000 miles throughout the rapidly fragmenting Soviet Union. Kapuscinski weaves the personal and historical account into one galvanizing narrative as he describes the collapse of an empire and its profound toll on the land and its people.

A report on the many long-buried identities now emerging from the fall of the Soviet empire. "The author's prognosis is not reassuring: He quotes Nicholas driving his troika over the fields in Tolstoy's War and Peace, -Heaven only knows where we are going, and heaven knows what is happening to us- by:Kirkus Reviews"

From the Publisher:
By "the conjuror extraordinary of modern portage" (John le Carre)- a personal, brilliantly detailed exploration of the almost unfathomably complex Soviet empire. "When a writer of Mr. Kapuscinski's genius writes of the snows and the steppes of Siberia, of the doomed Aral Sea and Kiev . . . no pictures are necessary." - The Wall Street Journal. First time in paperback.

From the Critics:
From Publisher's Weekly: Journalist Kapuscinski (The Soccer War) wandered across the Soviet Union from 1989 to 1991. His rewarding, sharply observed travelogue illuminates the tragedy of 20th-century Soviet history and the positive forces struggling against demoralization, poverty, rising crime and a government/military/KGB bureaucracy entrenched amid the disintegration of "the last colonial empire on earth." He describes his return to Pinsk, his Polish hometown that is now part of Byelorussia, which Soviet troops invaded in 1939 when he was seven, killing or deporting almost the entire intelligentsia. With mordant irony and photographic vividness, Kapuscinski journeys from the streets of Moscow to Siberia and across the Central Asian republics, meeting people from all walks of life and pondering the difficulty of democratizing a crumbling empire created through centuries of conquest and annexation. These dispatches from the borderline of Soviet catastrophe make compelling reading.

From Library Journal:
Journalist and author of several critically acclaimed books, among them The Soccer War (LJ 4/15/91), Kapus'cin'ski here chronicles the life of the Soviet Union. He divides his book into three sections: "First Encounters (1939-1967)"; "From a Bird's-Eye View (1989-1991)"; and "The Sequel Continues (1992-1993)." As such, he covers the relative zenith and dramatic decline of the one-time superpower. Movingly written, eloquently translated, and replete with literary nuances, Imperium is thought-provoking and fascinating. The subject matter is vast, but Kapus'cin'ski manages to provide enough detail to satisfy inquisitive readers while at the same time not creating a burdensome work. Because of his keen attention to detail, historical knowledge, and powerful writing skills, Kapus'cin'ski's Imperium is a chilling and enthralling record of the decline of an empire and the brutality and inhumanity that frequently characterized it. Highly recommended.-Joseph P. Parsons, Columbia Coll., Chicago
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Wiersze zebrane
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