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Il Negus. Splendori e miserie di un autocrate

4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,550 Ratings  ·  205 Reviews
Ras Tafari (1892-1975), ultimo imperatore d’Etiopia dal 1930 con il nome di Hailè Selassiè I, viene deposto da un colpo di stato il 12 settembre 1974. Kapuściński si reca ad Addis Abeba per capire cosa fosse davvero la monarchia assoluta del Negus, il Re dei Re, e perché sia caduta. Riesce a incontrare i rappresentanti dell’entourage imperiale e ne raccoglie i racconti, ac ...more
Paperback, Universale economica, 168 pages
Published April 2003 by Feltrinelli (first published 1978)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Rowena
Dec 22, 2013 Rowena rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: african-lit
A 3.5 star rating perhaps. This book contains accounts from those close to Ethiopia’s last emperor, Haile Selassie. It chronicles Selassie’s opulent lifestyle and his subsequent downfall. It speaks to the undoing of African leaders. I’ve always been intrigued by Selassie and was interested to know more about him.

The Emperor is a very dramatic account of Selassie's and I did get a slightly clearer idea of who Selassie was. He was very progressive in many ways, and he was quite eccentric as well.
...more
Conrad
Apr 25, 2007 Conrad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: masterpieces, history
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
...more
Tyler
May 21, 2009 Tyler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone; Anthropologists
Recommended to Tyler by: Goodreads Reviews
Shelves: non-fiction
The Emperor baffles any ready description. A Polish journalist, Ryszard Kapuscinski, renders an account of the last schizophrenic years of Ethiopia’s ancient kingdom and the demise of it emperor, whose ways are not our ways, to say the least. Reviews may not suffice to say exactly why or how the book works, but I’ll add mine anyway to the others that have noted its mystique.

The book's structure takes a straightforward path. The author interviews courtiers, associates and servants of the Emperor
...more
Sam
Mar 15, 2011 Sam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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 who once waited upon him. Not, of course, that you'd ever believe these are direct transcriptions of interviews, or that Kapuscinski hasn't modified 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 ...more
Boris Maksimovic
Iako je Kapušćinjski proglašen za novinara XX vijeka, iako je ispratio 27 državnih udara, pučeva raznih vrsta, revolucija i nasilnih i manje nasilnih promjena vlasti, iako je četiri puta stajao pred streljačkim vodom i za dlaku izbjegao smrt - gotovo je nemoguće doći do njegovih knjiga na srpskom.

Srećom, žena me je iznenadila engleskim izdanjem Penguina. Do sada sam zapravo samo jednu pročitao na srpskom, a to su "Putovanja sa Herodotom".

Ovo je knjiga o vladavini Hajla Salasija kroz oči njegov
...more
Adam
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.S. client states he uses a trick employed by other Iron Curtain writers (Ex. Kadare) to critique autocracy in genera,l as in general most dictatorships are the same wh ...more
Andrew
I suppose the American frame of reference for The Emperor is probably the "new journalism" stuff from the '60s-- Truman Capote, Tom Wolfe, Hunter Thompson, all that. So I liked all those guys a grip when I was in high school, and now that I'm a bit more grown-up, I can appreciated Ryszard Kapuscinski. Rather than writing about kids dropping acid, he writes about the utter insanity of the court of King Haile Selassie at the twilight of the Ethiopian Empire.

And rather than being strict reportage,
...more
Donna Kirk
Feb 22, 2011 Donna Kirk marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Salman Rushdie wrote about him: "One Kapuściński is worth more than a thousand whimpering and fantasizing scribblers. His exceptional combination of journalism and art allows us to feel so close to what Kapuściński calls the inexpressible true image of war".
James
May 15, 2009 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The most penetrating, compelling book on the nature of power and the inevitability of it's dissolution within the framework of human nature, Kapuscinski's book should be taught -before- Maciavelli in any self-respecting Political Science class.
Christian Krüger
Das vorliegende Buch zeigt den Verfall des äthiopischen Reiches bis zur Absetzung der Monarchie. Die Schilderung erfolgt anhand wiedergegebener Aussagen von Hofangestellten und Bewohner wie wiederkehrend eingefügten Berichten des Autors. Durch diese Darstellung wechselt der Autor scheinbar die Perspektive, indem er "vermeintlich" verschiedene Perspektiven anbietet. Eine höhere Objektivität wird dadurch natürlich nicht geschaffen, da Auswahl und Darstellung des Gesagten dem Autor selbst vorbehalt ...more
L.
Aug 01, 2015 L. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Na początku zachwyt, potem znużenie. Doceniam kunszt, formę i styl, ale to chyba nie mój świat. Ani sama Etiopia, ani Kapuściński.
Andrada
Jul 12, 2015 Andrada rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
I recently asked my friends from all over the world to recommend some books/authors from their own countries that I could read since I realized the literature I read was painfully limited to products of a handful of countries. I was very interested in hearing voices from other cultures.

Among all the recommendations I received, it was Kapuscinski and his body of work that intrigued me the most. As a big fan of Orwell’s more journalistic books and given my own background(journalism and a love of
...more
Cynthia Haggard
Oct 07, 2014 Cynthia Haggard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Emperor is so powerful that when he elevates someone to a new position, he changes their body language completely:

First, the whole figure of a man changes. What had been slender and trim-waisted now starts to become a square silhouette. It is a massive and solemn square: a symbol of the solemnity and weight of power. We can already see that this is not just anybody’s silhouette, but that of visible dignity and responsibility. A slowing down of movements accompanies this change in the figure.
...more
James
Feb 17, 2009 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
kapuscinski is one of the best journalists of all time, and the story of haile selassie, king of kings, as told by using the anecdotes of servants, civil and personal, closest to the failed emperor (a man, for instance, whose job it was for decades to place a pillow under haile selassie's short legs so his feet wouldn't dangle in an undignified manner). superlatives are best underused, so i'll just provide a bit of his writing. from when the edges of the empire first begin to fray:

"P.M. (the ano
...more
Matthew
Mar 19, 2012 Matthew rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-africa
For years I had heard what a wonderful writer Kapuscinski was but to me this book was a let down. It read more like a tell-all scandal rag rather than the superior journalistic account it was touted to be. Additionally the book, reflective of the journalistic nature, just did not have the depth needed on the topic. Sadly, there just is not another account available on the background of the end of Haile Salassie and the rise of the Marxists in Ethiopia.

The book consists of three parts: Part I: T
...more
Kaveh
شرح و تفسيري ندارد. نزديكان دربار ديكتاتور سابق اتيوپي، ميگويند و ميگويند …
از عادات امپراتور، از معتمدانش، از حال و هواي امپراتوري تحت امرش، از ساعت پيشرفت، كه امر ميفرمودند به پيشرفت. از ساعت هاي شرفيابي، كه حضرت اشرف چنان آهسته زمزمه ميكردند تا قابل تشخيص نباشد و بعدها اگر نتيجه امر ايشان خوب بود، از فراست ايشان باشد و اگر بد، از برداشت نادرست اطرافيان.
نمايشنامه پاياني، چيز جديدي ندارد. به خلاصه اي ميماند از قسمتهاي بزنگاه كتاب.
César Lasso
My favorite books by Kapuscinski are those where the author travels and explains for the world what other peoples feel. This is just an original biography. It has been contested in its accuracy. The protagonist, Haile Selassie, emperor of Ethiopia, is shown as a surreal personality who controlled a populated African country.

The book tries to introduce you into the history of the man who, on the other hand, Rastafarians chose as the reincarnation of Jah. This is the portrait of a naïve man who t
...more
Filipa
The decadence of an Empire is here narrated to outsiders - on the surprised, ironic and astonishing words of those that worked to maintain it until the very end.
A tale of autocracy and myth, weaved with a surprising disregard for the needs of the population. Kapuściński retells us the end of the Empire, and leaves us eager to know what happened next with the Derg, a bloody history in itself.
And although the book is called The Emperor, Selassie remains the obscure figure of the plot, an old man
...more
Olenka
Feb 12, 2016 Olenka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bardzo podobał mi się styl, w jakim Kapuściński opisywał pałacową rzeczywistość. Jeżeli chciał pokazać w jakim oderwaniu od etiopskiej rzeczywistości żyli cesarz wraz z dworem, zrobił to bardzo dobitnie.
Theut
Dec 22, 2015 Theut rated it really liked it
Kapuściński ha (aveva) decisamente il dono dell'affabulazione. Facendo parlare alcuni tra quelli che hanno avuto a che fare con Ras Tafari ne ricostruisce l'immagine caleidoscopica, una figura di luci (non troppe) e ombre (molte) che ha retto l'Etiopia per più di 40 anni.
matt

When I was in highschool, my best friend went through a rasta phase. It was goofy from the get-go, of course- dreads, incense, ganja, Jah this and Jah that....

But two things were worth hanging on to:

the music (not just Bob Marley, either, understand)

and the fact that I found out about Haile Selassie, real figure of veneration for dem Rastas ("almighty God is a living man") only to discover years later while reading this eloquent, vivid, closely researched book that he was, in actuality, a putz
...more
Kenneth
Apr 08, 2015 Kenneth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!
http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/13275278
Lauren
Despite being a non-fiction work and a series of interviews, this reminds me of novels like Marquez's "The Autumn of the Patriarch" and Miguel Angel Asturias' "The President", both of which are biting, surrealist fictional accounts of dictatorship in Latin America. Those works were intentionally surrealist; I find that "The Emperor" is surrealist because the reality of dictatorship is surreal. It is strange to me how fiction seeks to criminalize that surrealist characteristic by making it obtuse ...more
Karlan
Apr 09, 2010 Karlan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, older-ya
Haile Selassie reigned in Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. Polish journalist Kapuscinski interviewed servants and associates and tells the story of his downfall as if it were a novel. Those who read CUTTING FOR STONE will recognize the events of the early failed rebellion. The luxurious life of the Palace contrasted starkly with the starvation of the people who were invisible to a man who wanted to construct modern buildings and introduce development at the highest levels. This slim volume gives the ...more
Frederik
Jul 05, 2016 Frederik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

La chute de lempire éthiopién ressemble á lhistoire de toutes les autres empires. Quelques années de gloire et après une chute dramatique. Ce qui change dans le contexte éthiopien est la pauvrété du pays, oú largent a un rôle assez spécifique: “Mr. Kapuscinsky, do you know what money means in a poor country? Money in a poor country and money in a rich country are two different things. In a rich country, money is a piece of paper with which you buy goods on the market. You are only a customer. Ev
...more
乂
Feb 19, 2016 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: methodological
امپراتور؛ بازیِ امپراتور / ریشارد کاپوشچینسکی؛ مایکل هیستینگز ، جاناتان میلر / تهران: ماهی، چاپ اول، بهار 1393
هایله سلاسی اول، امپراتور اتیوپی، 1975-1892م.
اتیوپی - تاریخ - انقلاب، 1974 - اسناد و مدارک
اتیوپی - شاهان و فرمانروایان - سرگذشتنامه

حسن کامشاد در بخش «بهیاد ریشارد کاپوشچینسکی»، دربارهی او نوشته است: از همان سالهای نخستین روزنامهنگاری، همیشه دو دفترچهی یادداشت با خود داشت: یکی برای گذران زندگی (گزارش رویدادهای روزانه به آژانس خبرگزاریاش) و دیگری برای ثبت تجربههای شخصی که به نظرش قابل
...more
Safura
Oct 23, 2015 Safura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
بالاخره تمام شد! طول کشید نه به خاطر سختی کتاب یا بدی ترجمه. اتفاقا که سبک کاپوشچینکی که خودش اسمش را «گزارش ادبی» گذاشته را دوست دارم. خواندن روایت یک امپراتوری از زبان کسانی که در دربار کار میکرده اند و حالا بعد از کودتا مخفی اند. آن هم در آفریقا که کنجکاوی آدم را تحریک می کند. ترجمه حسن کامشاد هم بسیار خوب بود، با لحنی که خیلی زیاد به فضای کتاب میخورد. درد کتاب پر مطلب بودنش بود، ریز ریز و ضمیمه هایش هم پر مطلب ترش کرده. البته کم زمانی خودم هم مزید بر علت شده بود. خلاصه این که کتابی بود لذتبخ ...more
Nicky
Oct 23, 2012 Nicky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: journo
This novelized report by Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuściński gives a brilliant insight in the workings of a declining empire, the ignorance of its leaders, and the inevitable collapse that ensues. A unique portrait of Haile Selassie, unyielding king of kings, is painted through the accounts of his last loyal court members. Unsettling to read, in a way it reminded me of Orwell's 1984. Readers may also be interested in Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians.
Christian
Oct 28, 2014 Christian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Slightly surreal and haunting, at times, in its depiction of the final years of Haile Selassie's rule, there is a lot to admire in both the writing and in the presentation of a far from universal view of a complex individual.
The impression that I got of Selassie, from this, was of a man rather divorced from reality. Given his advanced years, by the period covered within the book, I couldn't help wondering (if the content is to be believed)about what his mental state might have been by that time.
...more
Leo Passaportis
Apr 24, 2016 Leo Passaportis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to say this wasn't an easy read but it was certainly a worthwhile one. Other GR members have written very comprehensive reviews so won't repeat what has been adequately said. In summary Kapuściński's journalistic nose is definitely attuned to the investigative.
Goodness knows how far he went in his efforts to interview such a wide selection of people, many intimately connected with the palace of emperor (Haile Selassie). Probably the best passage for me is his account of a feast for digni
...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Same book? 3 20 Aug 13, 2015 09:41PM  
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Ryszard Kapuściński debuted as a poet in Dziś i jutro at the age of 17 and has been a journalist, writer, and publicist. In 1964 he was appointed to the Polish Press Agency and began traveling around the developing world and reporting on wars, coups and revolutions in Asia, the Americas, and Europe; he lived through twenty-seven revolutions and coups, was jailed forty times, and survived four deat ...more
More about Ryszard Kapuściński...

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“Two lusts breed in the soul of man: the lust for aggresion, and the lust for telling lies. If one will not allow himself to wrong others, he will wrong himself. If he doesn't come across anyone to lie to, he will lie to himself in his own thoughts.” 8 likes
“His August Majesty chided the bureaucrats for failing to understand a simple principle: the principle of the second bag. Because the people never revolt just because they have to carry a heavy load, or because of exploitation. They don't know life without exploitation, they don't even know that such a life exists. How can they desire what they cannot imagine? The people will rvolt only when, in a single movement, someone tries to throw a second burden, a second heavy bag, onto their backs. The peasant will fall face down into the mud - and then spring up and grab an ax. He'll grab an ax, my gracious sir, not because he simply can't sustain this new burden - he could carry it - he will rise because he feels that, in throwing the second burden onto his back suddenly and stealthily, you have tried to cheat him, you have treated him like an unthinking animal, you have trampled what remains of his already strangled dignity, taken him for an idiot who doesn't see, feel, or understand. A man doesn't seize an ax in defense of his wallet, but in defense of his dignity, and that, dear sir, is why His Majesty scolded the clerks. For their own convenience and vanity, instead of adding the burden bit by bit, in little bags, they tried to heave a whole big sack on at once.” 5 likes
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