Posted on Tuesday, May 29th, 2007 at 2:58 pm under Nonfiction

Title:Imperium
Author:Kapuściński, Ryszard
Genre:non-fiction

Why I liked this book: What a time to be a reporter with access to the Soviet Union. Kapuscinski, a Polish journalist with a reputation built on his reporting from corners of the third world, turned his attention to his large neighbor as it was coming apart. He travels from Azerbaijan and Armenia to Vorkuta and Kolyma, and places in between. He has a keen eye for the absurd, and the details that capture the essence of the human situation in each locale. He knows the history, and the weight that history still brings to bear on the people. He has called what he does, “literature by foot” since so much is on the scene reports.

What you sense most when you read, in addition to the outrage that so much suffering has been inflicted, is his compassion for the people still trying to live in these environmentally and politically blighted lands. Kapuscinski is a talented storyteller. His writing brings to life these seldom visited corners of the vast Soviet empire. Many of these places are now struggling with self-governance – still burdened with the legacy of years under the Soviet yoke.

Kapuscinski died on Jan. 23, 2007, at age 74.

His other books include: The Soccer War, Another Day of Life, Shah of Shahs

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