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4.11  ·  Rating details ·  4,088 Ratings  ·  233 Reviews
Jeden z największych bestsellerów światowych. Przedmiotem reportażu-powieści są ludzie dworu cesarza Etiopii Hajle Sellasje zmarłego w 1975 roku. Ukazując ich służalczość, lizusostwo, strach, pazerność, uległość oraz walkę o względy władcy, Kapuściński w mistrzowski sposób przedstawia ponure kulisy jego panowania. Książka ma uniwersalny charakter, obnaża mechanizmy władzy ...more
Hardcover, 152 pages
Published 1980 by Czytelnik (first published 1978)
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Nov 11, 2013 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.
Fantastical story of the life and fall of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia. Dialogue seems tad polished to be from real interviews, and seems to me to be a pointed allegory for the Soviet Union.
Apr 25, 2007 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
May 13, 2009 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
Mar 15, 2011 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
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
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
Ta książka nie jest reportażem, tylko bardziej esejem o istocie władzy. Najlepiej widać to w warstwie językowej, wszyscy bohaterowie mówią tym samym głosem, widać że to styl Kapuścińskiego, a nie autentyczne wypowiedzi dworzan.
Trochę mnie irytowała przesadna literackość, najbardziej chyba pod koniec te piętrzące się bez końca częstochowskie rymy "Lepiej nie skakać, żeby potem nie płakać. Lepiej nie gardłować, żeby nie żałować." Wg mnie odzierają one książkę z autentyzmu; zresztą nie ma co liczyć
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,
May 15, 2009 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.
Donna Kirk
Feb 22, 2011 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".
May 31, 2015 rated it liked it
Na początku zachwyt, potem znużenie. Doceniam kunszt, formę i styl, ale to chyba nie mój świat. Ani sama Etiopia, ani Kapuściński.
Renga Hutchinson
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I often wondered what the atmosphere would have been like in Selassie's final years as Emperor of Ethiopia, what factors led to the decay of his empire and the methods taken to depose him. If these interviews are credible then Ryszard Kapuscinski has shed light on the matter. 'The Emperor' portrays the human side of Haile Selassie - as a creaky and venerable old man with both faults and weaknesses - which is a stark contrast to the symbol of humility in power and all-conquering lion, that he usu ...more
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
Mar 19, 2012 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
Cynthia Haggard
Sep 17, 2013 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.
James Maskalyk
Feb 17, 2009 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
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Such a fantastic, richly told expose of Haile Selassie who was emperor of Ethiopia 1930-74 as told by a Polish journalist who tracked down and spoke to people who were part of the court, as few and limited as they were, and I'm just going to take it at face value for this review.

I vaguely remember reading a little about Selassie in GCSE history in the context of WWII - my textbook even had a photograph of him - and the impression I got was that he was a dignified and revered internationalist whi
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
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
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

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
Dec 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
Ten reportaż nie jest reportażem i to chyba boli mnie najbardziej. Czytałam kiedyś "Imperium" i byłam nim zachwycona, a mając w rękach "Cesarza" z trudem docierałam na kolejną kartkę i w pewnym momencie zwątpiłam w siebie, bo jak długo można czytać utwór liczący zaledwie 150 stron? Pomysł na przedstawienie tej historii w postaci wypowiedzi ludzi otaczających cesarza był świetny i początkowo byłam zachwycona, ale kiedy uświadomiłam sobie, że każde zdanie może i zawiera myśl, którą chciał wyrazić ...more
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
Jun 27, 2015 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
Apr 08, 2010 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
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.
Sep 27, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was confused wrt the genre of this book: fiction/non-fiction/allusion to communist rule in Poland, etc. As Mary Kay said, the supposed interviewees all spoke with one voice (the author's) which made it hard to believe that it was real reportage. This genre confusion really distracted me. Don't know why, am normally not such a stickler for categories, but I really didn't know how to "read" this book.
Oct 10, 2012 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.
Dec 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
I prefere his actual reportages, this over-poetic style was bit annoying after some time and I felt like the ideas Kapuściński wanted to present were repeated over and over again. Nevertheless it is a valid and important book and it made me more interested in the history of Ethiopia.
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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.” 9 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.” 6 likes
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