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Another Day of Life

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  3,048 ratings  ·  216 reviews
In 1975, Angola was tumbling into pandemonium; everyone who could was packing crates, desperate to abandon the beleaguered colony. With his trademark bravura, Ryszard Kapuscinski went the other way, begging his way from Lisbon and comfort to Luanda—once famed as Africa's Rio de Janeiro—and chaos.

Angola, a slave colony later given over to mining and plantations, was a promi
Paperback, 160 pages
Published April 17th 2001 by Vintage (first published 1976)
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Sophie Heawood
Mar 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I never thought a Polish journalist's first-hand account of civil war in Angola in the 1970s would be so beautifully written that I'd wake up in the night, turn the light on and have to finish the book, but it had me gripped like that. Am now an utter convert to Kapuscinski's writing about Africa. Astonishing.
César Lasso
Mar 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review em português, followed by review in English

EM PORTUGUÊS: Situado na Angola desgarrada pela guerra, nos meses prévios à declaração da independência, isto é também parte da história de Portugal, do imenso êxodo de meio milhão de Portugueses e dos que lá ficaram e decidiram abraçar a nova nacionalidade. E tudo, com o selo característico do sempre interessante Kapuściński.

IN ENGLISH: Set in a chaotic and war-torn Angola during the three months previous to the declaration of independence, this
Another Day of Life is beautiful, surreal, and tragic reportage from Angola at the bloody birth of that nation that is also imbued with a non-grating sense of something close to whimsy. The country dropped as a colony by the fleeing Portuguese is torn between three armies and their allies fighting a proxy war (Cuba, Zaire(now DRC,), South Africa.) Filled with wonderful described moments and written with sense of atmosphere and perfect details. The fine moments are almost too many to point out an ...more
I first read this about 25 years ago along with Ryszard Kapuściński’s other books. At the time it was my favourite of his, and it didn’t disappoint on re-reading.

As the blurb states, Kapuściński described this as “a very personal book, about being alone and lost” and that is part of why this book is such a moving read. In 1975 he was the sole foreign correspondent of the official Polish press agency. He went to Angola to cover the lead-up to the country’s independence and the accompanying civil
Jan 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Beautiful writing, and I'm sure, also great translation.

This is a very sad story that can tear you up.
The next prisoner looks twelve. he says he's sixteen. He knows it is shameful to fight for the FNLA, but they told him that if he went to the front they would send him to school afterward. he wants to finish school because he wants to paint. if he could get paper and a pencil he could draw something right now. He could do a portrait. he also knows how to sculpt and would like to show his sculp
Aug 13, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa
Impressionistic account of the last days of Portuguese rule in the last European colony in Africa. Kapuściński was in Luanda, the capital and traveled around territory controlled (often temporarily) by the MPLA, the liberation movement that was supported by the USSR and Cuba. As a Warsaw Pact journalist his accreditation if not his sympathies were to them. The MPLA was at war with UNITA in the north which was supported by Mobutu's Zaire--and therefor by the U.S. and France which funded Mobutu fo ...more
Normally, Kapuscinski doesn't stick to a single event across a book, but here, as in The Emperor, he documents, with precision, the downfall of a regime. And this is twice the account that The Emperor is, infinitely more hallucinatory, describing the insanity and fragmentation that accompanied the fall of one of Europe's last colonial projects in Africa, a poor and unstable country that had long been run by another poor and unstable country, before becoming the setting of one of the ugliest prox ...more
Dec 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another Day of Life is a very well-written account of very important but seldom remembered conflict in Angola that was really a war of ideology, filled with warrior-poets, opportunists revolutionaries and sell-outs. It recalls the enormous potential of of post-colonial africa without shying away from its practical failure. What Kapuscinski lacks is a more in-depth examination of the relationships in the conflict. The subtle themes are there but he could have gone further. Of particular interest ...more
Mar 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kapuściński, to me, is the Polish, Cold War, War Correspondent version of Hunter S. Thompson... going to whatever lengths necessary to find the heart of darkness and bad craziness. Has the front disintegrated and is the South African army about to invade? Take me there!

Also, I don't know what it is about Polish authors being translated into English, but the book reads like poetry.
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book. Background knowledge of the conflict is not necessary to understand the text, but having it would enhance your understanding of the text.
Lorenzo Berardi
A few years ago I listened in awe to an excerpt from 'Another Day of Life' on an Italian online radio focused on books. As those pages revolving around a sieged Luanda were beautiful and poignant, I got interested in adding up another Kapuscinski to my increasing lot.

Then I moved abroad and as I had read all of my Kapuscinskis in Italian translation purchasing one of his books in English didn't seem quite right.
Back to Italy for a stopover inbetween the UK and Poland I've finally bought the lo
Sep 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
A snapshot of Angolan history. In 1974, the Portuguese pulled out of their colony of Angola, leaving behind a leadership vacuum. White Portuguese colonists, eager to avoid what was likely to be a nasty civil war, scrambled to leave the country with their families. Here enters journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski, who begs to be stationed in Angola's capital city, Luanda, so he can report on the conditions there. Kapuscinski spends several months living in a decrepit hotel with a handful of other Portu ...more
David Corleto-Bales
Mar 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
The late Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski's classic 1976 book about the unraveling of Angola in 1975 is a real treat. Kapuscinski made a career of journeying to troubled African countries under threat of war or revolution and was a first-hand witness to the collapse of Portuguese rule and the beginnings of Angola's long civil war, with factions backed by the United States and South Africa against factions backed by the Soviet Union and Cuba. Great descriptions of the tension of Luanda durin ...more
Phil Williams
Sep 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those looking for a memorable impression of the tragic absurdity of modern war.
Before I read this book I knew almost nothing about Angola, and picked it up as part of my attempts to broaden my knowledge of Africa. By the time I reached the final chapter I still knew almost nothing about Angola, but had obtained a number of unforgettable images of the universal impacts of modern warfare.

Though the events take place in 1975, Kapusciniski's rather brief but memorable notes on the war in Angola have a timeless element. The abandoned city, the haphazard roadblocks and the uncer
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a book about the bloody and disheartening legacy of colonialism and slavery in Africa. Specifically, the time and place are 1975 in Angola, when Portugal was granting the country its "freedom".

But even before the day of final withdrawal, the peoples of Angola, backed by interested foreign nations (in particular Cuba and South Africa) were engaged in a war to determine their future. The Polish author is living with, and sympathetic to, the Cuban-backed MPLA, who hold the city of Luanda. D
(More of a note than a real review)

As always with Kapuscinski's books, the writing is fantastic, and the narrative gripping. But something didn't seem right about it to me, for books purporting to be factual accounts... My belief was being increasingly suspended and I was suspicious.. I increasingly felt like this must be the work of a fantasist, or a hybrid at least: a hybrid of fantasy and travelogue.

I did a little research and very quickly it turned out that other people suspect the same. A
Mark Marquardt
Jul 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Re-reading my favorite Kapuscinski books in conjunction with his newly released biography. Another Day of Life is up there with Michael Herr's Dispatches as one of the great impressionistic accounts of war. The Portugese are fleeing Angola as independence approaches, packing generations' of accumulated possessions -- right down to the curtains -- into enormous wooden crates. Three indigenous armies backed by various foreign powers are in a race to seize the capital, Luanda. Kapuscinski sketches ...more
Gary Daly
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
A brilliant account of journalist and writer Ryszard Kapuscinski's journey into the heart of darkness of Angola 1975. At the end of colonial rule Angola was left to fend for itself and from the woodwork spread madness, hatred and violence. Civil war, state war, international war a bedlam of weapons, boy soldiers and death like pin ball machine scores. Kapuscinski travels where people are leaving, he arrives and lives in hotel rooms with no water, no room service, no cable. The pool is filled wit ...more
dead letter office
a polish journalist's account of the withdrawal of portugal from colonial angola and the beginning of angolan independence. this book is remarkable because the author is evidently a serious adrenaline junkie. before the advent of base jumping, i guess you had to become a journalist and insinuate yourself into the middle of a war zone to have a good time. the polish journalistic perspective on a post-colonial conflict (a hot front of the cold war) is also interesting. i haven't read that many acc ...more
As always, Kapuscinski writes with immediacy and vulnerability while providing a lot of context. As one of the only foreign journalists in Angola in the last days before independence, he travels to fronts that are less lines on a map than pockets of a few soldiers in a truck.

Some of the most vivid descriptions are of the handful of people upon whom much depends; the octogenarian baker making daily bread at the front, the pilot who has no radio, no spare parts and no knowledge of who holds the ai
Katrina Tan
Feb 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reminiscent of Philip Gourevitch's "We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories From Rwanda". Much less gore, more scattered fights with much less organisation. What is appalling is the narrative of the Portugese colonisation, its slave trade and the systematic destruction of Angola.

As with every genocide, internal war, the world waits and watches, respecting sovereign rights. But for 350 years...
Mar 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not born yesterday. I know that Kapuscinski played a deeper role in the MPLA than he would've liked to admit, and that much of his writing works as state propaganda. If you take his point of view with a grain of salt, you still have a memorable, fascinating look at the beginnings of the Angolan Civil War.

Oddly enough, a good companion piece/rebuttal might be the Jack Abramoff produced Dolph Lundgren action film "Red Scorpion".
Hunter Marston
Feb 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kapuscinski has done it again, once more proving himself one of the best foreign correspondents that ever wrote. His wartime journalism, Shah of Shahs, and this epitaph from Angola's 1975 civil war, are phenomenal demonstrations of his command of prose. My only gripe is the editor's choice to leave the final descriptive chapter (more a chronology or Angola for Dummies, Ch. 1 than anything else) as the last chapter rather than make it the first, an introductory lead-in.
Dec 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"Even in the worst situation in which we find ourselves breaks down into elements that include something for us to grab hold of, like the branch of a bush that grows on the bank, to avoid being sucked to the bottom of a whirlpool. That chink, that island, that branch sustain us on the surface of existence." (p 81)
Nov 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: africa
A Polish journalist's first-hand account of the beginning of Angola's civil war in 1975...beautifully written and full of observations about everyday people's "small" decisions in a time of crisis, revealing the heights and depths of human nature.
Sorin Hadârcă
Oct 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel, africa
As always Kapuscinski goes beyond facts, grasping the reality in the details, going for the real persons. Angola on the verge of gaining independence is clear now. The civil war that followed - not so much.
Mar 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Read the book in one day, I couldn't put it down. Amazing reporting, from a place that means a lot for a lot of people in my country. Great to see a foreigner's point of view.
I’m not going to rate this book because I don’t think I got much out of it considering I don’t have enough information about Angola or their history and political movements. I moved to YouTube now to continue my search on the country.

This book quickly dives in giving a reportage about what was happening in the country during 1975. The journalist reports events mentioning some key names whom I have no clue who they are, why they are relevant and he doesn’t provide any information on them and that
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"As I see it, it's wrong to write about people without living through at least a little of what they are living through." - Ryszard Kapuściński

'Another Day of Life' is a unique and wonderfully reported account of the collapse of Portuguese colonialism and the ensuing civil war in Angola.

Kapuściński himself described it as "a very personal book, about being alone and lost", and it would be misleading to classify it as straight-up non-fiction. In reality it's much closer to literary reporting (if
O, Lord
Despite a great many prayers to you, we are continually losing our wars. Tomorrow we shall again be fighting a battle that is truly great. With all our might we need your help and that is why I must tell you something. This battle tomorrow is going to be a serious affair. There will be no place in it for children. therefore I must ask you not to send your son to help us. Come yourself.

-The prayer of Koq, leader of the Griquas tribe, before a battle with Afrikaners in 1876
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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

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