Ryszard Kapuscinski: A Life


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Publish Date
6.4 X 1.7 X 9.3 inches | 1.95 pounds
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About the Author

Artur Domos?awski writes on international politics for the weekly review Polityka and for the Polish edition of Le Monde diplomatique, and for two decades reported for the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza. In 2010 he received Poland's prestigious Journalist of the Year Award. A Knight Fellow at Stanford University in 2005-2006, he is the author of five books and is currently working on a book about contemporary Latin America.


"Not just a fascinating biography of an important writer but also a subtle study of life under authoritarianism, with all the compromises and complexities that entails."--Ian Birrell, Observer

"Domos?awski's book is a poignant feat of biography, not only because he trekked all over the world on Kapu?ci?ski's trail, but because it reopens dilemmas of integrity and conscience that are still painful for any journalist who tried to report the big world in the late 20th century ... [a] compelling, exhaustive and often upsetting book."--Neal Ascherson, London Review of Books

"A truly great achievement."--Agata Pyzik, Guardian

"Artur Domoslawski ... fires off questions like distress flares. He is dedicated in pursuit of evidence, crossing continents to get it, but a reluctant judge."--Marek Kohn, Independent

"A compelling and controversial biography... Mr Domoslawski was a friend of the great man; but resolved to treat his life as a subject for serious inquiry, setting out with an open mind and detailed knowledge, and adding more insights and evidence along the way. The result is an exemplary explanation of what made Kapuscinski tick."--Economist

"A great book about a great man."--Zygmunt Bauman

"[A] reluctant and fascinating exposé."--Nicholas Shakespeare, Telegraph

"The first real biography [of Kapu?ci?ski] ... reminds us that we reveal ourselves too in our evasions and confabulations and, indeed, that the distortions of reality are an important part of the image of reality."--Peter Englund, Financial Times

"Exhaustive and focused ... substantial and interesting ... a real contribution to our understanding of Kapu?ci?ski."--Columbia Journalism Review

"[A] fascinating, gently probing study."--Irish Times

"Domos?awski ... leading Polish journalist and longtime disciple of Kapu?ci?ski, ultimately strives not to destroy his mentor's reputation but to present a candid biography in hopes of understanding both Kapu?ci?ski's enigmatic personality and, on a more abstract level, whether journalism is big or brave enough to include more 'literary' approaches."--Booklist

"This comprehensive biography of the Polish foreign reporter extraordinaire is the most eagerly awaited book of the year."--The Bookseller

"Domos?awski's biography seems fascinated by moral gray areas--Kapu?ci?ski neglected his family, had affairs, spied for Poland's government, and maintained his Party membership until 1981--but always takes a lenient view ... As Kapu?ci?ski once said, 'I don't want to stop at observation, I want to take part.'"--The New Yorker

..". A spectacular piece of literary investigation that takes us on an exploration of the meaning of journalism and tells us more about political life and choices in Poland during the communist years--and, in particular, how a leftist could maintain himself as a leftist during that time--than perhaps any book that has appeared to date."--DISSENT

"A welcome portrait of the writer. The book exposes its subject's many imperfections, but Mr. Domos?awski wisely does not to get carried away with them."--Wall Street Journal

"A biography that reads like a novel."--History Wire

"Domos?awki's book is a mournful exposé, and ... his revelations are gently rendered."--Nieman Reports

"[T]he story he tells us is less about this Polish reporter with a zeal for getting into dangerous places than the action he is witnessing. The story is about the people and their times, their daily life, motivations and dreams."--Cerise Press

"An impeccable biography, one critical but also compassionate. Best of all, he situates his biographical narrative in the larger history that his subject helped to build and then tear down. Amidst ironies aplenty, the biographer remains steadfast in his determination to understand his subject--whatever the consequences."--New Criterion

"The first definitive biography ... Sympathetic while investigative and critical."--Bookforum