Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Cobra's Heart (Penguin Great Journeys)” as Want to Read:
The Cobra's Heart (Penguin Great Journeys)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Cobra's Heart (Penguin Great Journeys #20)

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  79 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
One of the most brilliant journalists of the postwar world, Kapuscinski (born 1932) spent decades criss-crossing Africa, witnessing the horrors of a continent ravaged by imperialism and its aftershocks. Humane, evocative and magical, The Cobra's Heart makes the case for Kapuscinski as a great writer as well as a great journalist.
Paperback, 112 pages
Published 2007 by Penguin UK
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Cobra's Heart, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Cobra's Heart

The Cobra's Heart by Ryszard KapuścińskiAcross the Empty Quarter by Wilfred ThesigerSnakes with Wings and Gold-digging Ants by HerodotusFrom The Meadows of Gold by Al-MasudiThe Customs of the Kingdoms of India by Marco Polo
Penguin Great Journeys
1st out of 20 books — 3 voters
Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan PatonThe Poisonwood Bible by Barbara KingsolverHalf of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieKing Solomon's Mines by H. Rider HaggardSvijet se raspada by Chinua Achebe
Acacia Tree Cover Meme
24th out of 87 books — 19 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 259)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Daren
This book in the Penguin Great Journeys series is an excerpt (or excerpts) from Kapuscinski's The Shadow of the Sun. It reads more like a number of separate essays rather than a cohesive narrative, but that is likely a result of the excerpt selection.

I was impressed with the writing which I found articulate and insightful - which credits the translation from Polish to English as well as the original writing.

Covering events in the 1950s and 60s in Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and Nigeria, it covers a
...more
Dylan
Dec 05, 2007 Dylan rated it really liked it
Made me want to have the balls to explore Africa.
Nirmal
May 22, 2013 Nirmal rated it really liked it
This is the extract of the full book under Penguin's Great Journeys series.

Kapuscinski has described his experiences in Africa and his experiences are authentic and his information about the place and people is very insightful , something which has come by actually going in various inhospitable african terrains and facing extremely harsh conditions. It covers Ghana, Tanjania, Nigeria, Uganda.

It covers the events of late 50's and 60's when many african nations were getting independence from the
...more
Kalika
Dec 25, 2014 Kalika rated it it was amazing
A short extract from The shadow of the sun, it reminded me again how absolutely wonderful Kapuściński's writing is. How he can make everything come alive and put you right in there so that you feel the oppressive heat of the Saharan towns and shiver in the eerie darkness of the African nights.
He is one of my favourite ("The favourite", perhaps) non-fiction writer. And I promise myself that I will reread some of his books in the new year.
Ape
May 18, 2013 Ape rated it it was amazing
Shelves: africa, travel
Bookcrossing review:

I really enjoyed this book, so it was quite frustrating that it is so short. I've added the book that these extracts are from to my wishlist to remind me to keep my eyes open for the full book.

This one is by a Polish writer, and is about some of his experiences in central Africa - mainly Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania during the 60s. This was a time when a lot of these countries were getting their independance, so there's quite a bit about that. Amin comes up in his own chapter
...more
Nick
Sep 03, 2008 Nick rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, travel
Loved this book. It is a little disjointed, due to the author writing for newspapers in his native Poland, but is provides a fascinating insight into the culture and experiences of African Nations going through the liberating, and for many ultimately failed, process of freedom from the colonial yoke in the 1960's. Its interesting to compare your own views and attitudes (ignorant though mine are) of these countries to that of the author, and the time he lived in. Great for those who like adventur ...more
Sue
Feb 25, 2013 Sue rated it really liked it
This book is so descriptive, almost paints a picture as you read. I did find the stories/essays seemed unrelated but enjoyed it, despite finding it quite disturbing. I have read little about Africa before and the book was definitely an eye opener. As a Brit I particularly found the essay on Uganda interesting as I remember many Ugandans arriving in the UK at that time. I was a child then and had no idea of what they had endured having to leave the homes, work and loved ones.
Mikaela
Feb 20, 2011 Mikaela rated it really liked it
The Third World is Kapusciniski's personal "beat". No one writes more effectively of the brutal contingencies, the hilarious and terrifying randomness of events, of the blithe, cruel anarchy of African countries in chaos. But at the same time no one conveys better that seductive allure of the fauna and flora of the continent, the captivating, tenacious fascination for the place that is always present despite the irritation and dismay.
Don
Aug 16, 2010 Don rated it liked it
Small book of essays on Africa from the vantage point of a much-travelled European (Polish) writer. Can't say I encountered any challenging new insights into the 'African' - but a please to read small, well-crafted little pieces. The title essay, The Cobra's Hearet particularly exiciting....
Fiona Lane
May 14, 2012 Fiona Lane rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-beyond-me
This book gives a few insights in to Africa and the journey to independence. The writing was cleverly engaging considering the number of scenes of Africa covered in the small number of pages. I loved the vivid nature of his accounts.
Scott
Aug 29, 2007 Scott rated it really liked it
more dark madness from the heart of africa - hard to believe he lived through all this.
I'd still recommend "Travels with Heroditus" unless you're really interested in Africa particularly. Much more entertaining.
Anna
Mar 06, 2010 Anna rated it really liked it
Shelves: reportage
It's just couple of chapters taken from Polish edition of "Ebony". Full edition of Ebony is recommended.
Emilie
Feb 03, 2016 Emilie rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs, travel-lit
Fantastic so far, really rekindling my desire to travel Africa!
Jo
Mar 21, 2008 Jo rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Christina
An amazing writer. I loved this.
Megan
Aug 27, 2015 Megan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I wish I could give more than 5 stars
Charlie
Charlie marked it as to-read
Sep 23, 2016
Wilma
Wilma added it
Sep 21, 2016
Gökhan CANBAZ
Gökhan CANBAZ marked it as to-read
Sep 16, 2016
Victoria
Victoria rated it liked it
Sep 22, 2016
Maheen Aziza
Maheen Aziza marked it as to-read
Sep 07, 2016
Rob Mattimoe
Rob Mattimoe rated it really liked it
Sep 07, 2016
Rejoice
Rejoice marked it as to-read
Aug 21, 2016
William Moore
William Moore rated it it was amazing
Aug 19, 2016
Sarah
Sarah marked it as to-read
Aug 18, 2016
Evan
Evan marked it as to-read
Aug 15, 2016
Natalia Correa
Natalia Correa marked it as to-read
Aug 06, 2016
Suzanne
Suzanne marked it as to-read
Jul 12, 2016
Shonima Sabikhi
Shonima Sabikhi marked it as to-read
Jul 11, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Snakes with Wings and Gold-digging Ants
  • Adventures in the Rocky Mountains
  • Across the Empty Quarter (Penguin Great Journeys)
  • Fighting in Spain (Penguin Great Journeys)
  • Sold as a Slave (Penguin Great Journeys)
  • Escape from the Antarctic (Penguin Great Journeys)
  • Can-Cans, Cats and Cities of Ash (Great Journeys)
  • A Journey to the End of the Russian Empire
  • From The Meadows of Gold
  • In the Heart of the Amazon Forest (Penguin Great Journeys)
  • The Shipwrecked Men
  • Jaguars and Electric Eels (Penguin Great Journeys)
  • To the Holy Shrines (Penguin Great Journeys)
  • The Customs of the Kingdoms of India
  • Botswana Time
  • Venture to the Interior
  • Journey Without Maps
  • In Ethiopia with a Mule
6255
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...

Other Books in the Series

Penguin Great Journeys (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • Snakes with Wings and Gold-digging Ants
  • From The Meadows of Gold
  • The Customs of the Kingdoms of India
  • The Shipwrecked Men
  • Piracy, Turtles and Flying Foxes (Penguin Great Journeys)
  • Life On The Golden Horn (Penguin Great Journeys)
  • Hunt For The Southern Continent
  • Sold as a Slave (Penguin Great Journeys)
  • Jaguars and Electric Eels (Penguin Great Journeys)
  • To the Holy Shrines (Penguin Great Journeys)

Share This Book



“The continent is too large to describe. It is a veritable ocean, a separate planet, a varied, immensely rich cosmos. Only with the greatest simplification, for the sake of convenience, can we say 'Africa'. In reality, except as a geographical appellation, Africa does not exist.” 20 likes
More quotes…