by Ryszard Kapuscinski
Release Date: 08 August, 1995
At first I have to say, that I really haven't read that book in english, so I don't know the english translation, only the original version of the book. I LOVED IT. I have always been intrested in history and I have always loved "fact literature", and this book is a comprehensive and colorful, tragic story of a tragic country. It turns us inside-out. We can hardly stop reading. And all the time we have a chance to admire Ryszard Kapuscinski's specific, beutiful and simple in it's structure - style. We see a picture of a country of misery.Country of pain and blood. But not only. Through the author's eyes, we watch the people,see their emotins, their life, their faith and power.Ryszard Kapuscinski,unequalled for many world's great journalist,master of reportage has written a beautiful book, which made me a huge fan of him. Imperium - especially recommended.
I've read this book several time since I first chanced across it in the library several years ago. Kapuscinski's vision is unique since it is essentially unclouded by idealogical or political bias. His outlook is more cultural than political and he breaks apart the image (so prevalent in the U.S.) of the Russia is/was a monolithic and homogenous bastion of Marxism.The truth (not surprisingly) is much more complicated than that.
Imperium reads like a travelogue across the sweeping expanse of that was once collectively called the U.S.S.R. Kapuscinski shows that the "republic" was never more than a far-flung and disparate collection of principalities yoked by violence to form a unified front. Underneath this exterior he reveals the ethnic, cultural, and religious tensions that have always threatened to rend the region apart, and now seem destined to set the various factions against one-another.
All of this underscores the fact that Kapuscinski is one of the great writers of our time (although, regretably, his output is pretty limited). His writing transcends genre and is timeless and well crafted enough to draw the reader in no matter what the subject matter. Because he seems to have little to prove his vision is less self-conscious, less affected, and more mature than the most of the batch of current fiction writers.
Read this book. Read it for the history. Read it for the story-telling. Or read it for the power and grace of its language. Any way you read it, you'll be better for it...