The Polish journalist whose The Soccer War and The Emperor are counted as classics of contemporary reportage now bears witness in Imperium to the. Journalist Kapuscinski (The Soccer War) wandered across the Soviet Union from to His rewarding, sharply observed travelogue illuminates the. Imperium. Ryszard Kapuscinski, Author, Klara Glowczewska, Translator Vintage Books USA $16 (p) ISBN

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Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Imperium is the story of an empire: This is Kapuscinski’s vivid, compelling and personal report on the life and death of the Soviet superpower, from the entrance of Soviet troops into his hometown in Poland inthrough his Imperium is the story of an empire: This is Kapuscinski’s vivid, compelling and personal report on the life and death of the Soviet superpower, from the entrance of Soviet troops into his hometown in Poland inthrough his journey across desolate Siberia and the republics of Central Asia in the s and 60s, to his wanderings over the vast Soviet lands – from Poland to the Pacific, the Arctic Circle to Afghanistan – in the years of the USSR’s decline and final disintegration in Paperbackpages.

Published March 19th by Granta Books first published Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Imperiumplease sign up.

Lists with This Book. Here is a tour through the ruins of empire. Ryszard Kapuscinski has lived through the Soviet Union during its worst stretches of tyranny, and is now a dutiful chronicler of its long dissolution.

This is not a political history, and not about the mechanisms of power.

Instead, it is about the very fringes of empire, where power once hoped to reach and is now wasting away. He journeys to the very edges of empire, and talks to the ordinary people. He starts in what was a part of Poland, and goes to Here is a tour through the ruins of empire.

He starts in what was a part of Impsrium, and goes to Armenia, Azerbaijan, the republics of Central Asia, the northern tips of Siberia, the prisons of Magadan.

The nomenklaturathe Soviet ruling class, are fleeing Eastern Europe like the British or the French or the Portugese fled Africa, out of fear that their former colonial subjects would start some uprising to avenge the past. The prison camps crumble and are buried under the imperiumm of Siberia. This is an extraordinary travel-memoir, with a wise look at people and their history.

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Imperium isn’t merely a travel narrative; such would ignore its vitality as palimpsest. It traverses the same roads again and again over time, it returns to immense crime scenes and it ponders a policy of ecological suicide. The book was published in just before a number of the text’s issues came to boil: There are whispers of the rise of the oligarchs and somewhere lurking is in the frozen mist is Putin.

He often Imperium isn’t merely a travel narrative; such would ignore its vitality as palimpsest. He often suffers the human failing of bullshit philosophy and guessing wrong about an inchoate state of affairs.

Stalin’s chessboard left nascent atrocities across Central Asis. The author notes that dissent could’ve been crushed with death camps and mobile killing units, but then there would be a culpable element. Famine and cold spread the blame around. There is a sting of commiseration at the book’s conclusion.


What about Anna Andreyevna?

I felt the stab of such as well. Dec 02, Maciek rated it really liked it Shelves: This is a bilingual review – English text is presented below. My grandmother was born in a small village near Lviv in Together with my great grandmother she has survived the raid of OUN-UPA – they hid in the basement of their house as the village burned to the ground, and the ground was soaked with blood of the murdered.

Both have also somehow survived various occupations and repressions, before finally being deported to a small town in new southern Poland after the War – taken away from the Germans, who themselves have been resettled further West. Today that small village is in Ukraine – along with descendants of our relatives. Although we are one family, we became strangers to ourselves – we speak different languages, evolved in different cultures, belong to different nations.

Time – and history – did their part. Imperium is a collection of the author’s memories, thoughts and observations which he gathered while travelling across its vast territory, visiting the forgotten nooks and crannies of Central Asia and the Far North, as different as night is from day. The book is divided into three sections: Every road seems to be without end in this ocean of white steppe, which is the pride and curse of Russians; the same immense, mighty and majestic landscape is overwhelming with its magnitude, sucking away all the energy necessary for normal life.

The most interesting parts are the observations from various -stans, and the deeply felt and compassionate telling of the tragedy of the Armenian people. In the far North he visits Magadan and Vorkuta, witnessing the empty gulags of Kolyma – the nightmare of hundreds of thousands people. He also travels south, to Uzbekistan, where the plan to create vast fields of cotton resulted in the tragic shrinking of the Aral Sea and the destruction of the entire region.

The Sequel Continues is the last, shortest part of the book, and an attempt at a summary of transformations in Russia and the former USSR, aptly foreseeing gradual disintegration and the rise of social and economic inequality. View all 12 comments. Nov 09, Hana rated it it was amazing Recommended to Hana by: In an entire world went mad; a madness that came to be called the Soviet Union.

Imperium – Ryszard Kapuscinski – – Allen & Unwin – Australia

The persecutions and wars that began with the October Revolution and that lasted for decades were marked by an almost incomprehensible series of mass exterminations; between and an estimated million citizens of the USSR perished of unnatural causes. The Soviets left behind an enduring legacy of poverty, demoralization and ecological catastrophe.

Deftly weaving historical narrative, personal trav In an entire world went mad; a madness that came to be called the Soviet Union. The opening, the unfastening, the imperum, the disemboweling. The rummaging, the plunging in, the pulling out, the shaking about.

Imperium by Ryszard Kapuściński

And what is this? And what is that for? The fingers, delicately and imperceptibly, but very carefully, very vigilantly, roll the grain about. But the little grain is simply what it is What microscopic movements, what responsive tremors, what sensitivity, what professional virtuosity! I finished it in just a couple of days and then immediately turned back to read it– study it –a second time. It’s brilliant, beautiful, weird, astonishing, prescient, haunting and sometimes darkly comedic; filled with word-pictures that seemed rather like the glittering tesserae of a smashed mosaic.


If you care about history, if you want ikperium understand how and why the madness happened and why the world is still paying the price of this terrible time–read this book. I’ve included more quotes and pictures of the former USSR in the comments section below.

View all 15 comments. I have since bought and read each of this other books if that tells you anything. Kapuscinski was he died early this year a Polish Journalist extraordinaire who spent his life he nearly died numerous times in the field covering Coups, Wars and any other havoc he could fly into. Imperium is about his travels, by plane, train, car, horse, whatever through imperimu Soviet Union The heartbreak he describes in these “Imperium” was the first Ryszard Kapuscinski book I read.

The heartbreak he describes in these remote mining and Gulag towns is overwhelming. Maybe it’s my morbid curiosity with the brutality of the Soviet Union that made me love it His account of the far-reaching areas of Soviet Union are bleak, harrowing and full of life.

His description of the ‘Stans for spelling’s sake are also excellent. Not only are they lively and detailed, he traces the history behind the ethnic areas in each, including Chechnya, which I found particularly fascinating. Love leaves behind its creation-the next generation coming into the world; the continuation of humanity.

Such a great part kapusciski human experience, the most difficult and painful, passes leaving no trace. If one were to collect kappuscinski energy of suffering emitted by the millions of people here [Magadan, Russia] and transform it into the power of creation, one could turn our planet into a flowering garden.

But what would remain? Rusty carcasses of ships, rotting watchtowers, deep holes which some kind of ore was once extracted.

A dismal, lifeless emptiness. Not a soul anywhere, for the exhausted columns have already passed and vanished in the cold eternal fog. Apr 05, Adam rated it it was amazing Shelves: The beauty of the writing pulls this together into a meditation on a collapsing empire and a changing of the world order with all the chaos and transformation that is involved.

The rot, decay, and weirdness of collapse are what Kapusciski crafts his poetry from, and here he is frequently at his most poetic. Kapkscinski di nuovo sotto il sole, quindi? Sudditi di un impero. Il feroce sfruttamento economico, il sangue come elemento per rafforzare un dominio, le deportazioni forzate in nome della omogeneizzazione culturale hanno lo stesso significato.

Letta in questi termini, non ka;uscinski che la Russia del dopo Gorbachev si sia avvvicinata kapjscinski mondo liberale con sospetto, anzi che ben presto si sia dotata di apparati governativi solo apparentemente democratici, cosi come non stupisce che la stessa Russia abbia cominciato a condurre in Ucraina ma anche in altre zone la kapuscihski politica di ricostituzione dei confini dell’Impero che fu dell’Urss, degli Zar prima di loro, e via via andando indietro nel kapusfinski.

Aug 26, Wanda rated it it was amazing Recommended to Wanda by: This book, by Ryszard Kapuscinski, is amazing. But it is work, albeit well worth the trouble. It is difficult to put a finger on what it actually is — travelogue vignettes is about as close as I can come to describing it. Kapuscinksi is a Polish journalist who traveled througout the Soviet Union when few other people could.