Travels with HerodotusPaperback
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- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
- Format: Paperback | 288 pages
- Dimensions: 128mm x 196mm x 18mm | 222g
- Publication date: 1 May 2008
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0141021144
- ISBN 13: 9780141021140
- Sales rank: 40,512
"Travels with Herodotus" records how Kapuscinski set out on his first forays - to India, China and Africa - with the great Greek historian constantly in his pocket. He sees Louis Armstrong in Khartoum, visits Dar-es-Salaam, arrives in Algiers in time for a coup when nothing seems to happen (but he sees the Mediterranean for the first time). At every encounter with a new culture, Kapuscinski plunges in, curious and observant, thirsting to understand its history, its thought, its people. And he reads "Herodotus" so much that he often feels he is embarking on two journeys - the first his assignment as a reporter, the second following Herodotus' expeditions.
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Ryszard Kapuscinski was born in Poland in 1932. As a foreign correspondent for PAP, the Polish news agency, until 1981 he was an eyewitness to revolutions and civil wars in Africa, Asia and Latin America. His books include The Shadow of the Sun, The Emperor, Shah of Shahs and Another Day of Life, all of which are published by Penguin. He has won dozens of major literary prizes all over the world, and was recently made 'journalist of the century' in Poland. He died in January 2007.
By Marianne Vincent 18 Jan 2014
Travels with Herodotus is the ninth book published in English by award-winning Polish journalist, Ryszard Kapuscinski. It is translated by Klara Glowczewska. In the mid 1950's, as a young journalist, Kapuscinski expressed a desire to go abroad, "Czechoslovakia, maybe?" His editor handed him a copy of The Histories by Herodotus of Halicarnassus and sent him to India. And later China. So begins this memoir, a somewhat disjointed account of Kapuscinski's own travels through places like Egypt, Libya, Belgian Congo, Iran, Ethiopia, Algiers, Senegal and Turkey; an account which is liberally interspersed with quotes from The Histories, and muses on knowledge lost and memory and the recording of it, on war, conflict, the origins of hostilities, slavery and communication with other people. Perhaps it would be more correct to describe this as a book about Herodotus's The Histories, punctuated with tenuously related accounts of Kapuscinski's travels (some detailed, some more superficial). Kapuscinski refers to Herodotus as "my Greek" and is obviously journalistically inspired by him. This book might be enjoyed by readers interested in ancient history and Herodotus; while there are a few interesting parts for the average reader, many will find the bits in between tedious, dry and rather boring. The quotes from The Histories are actually the best parts of this book, so an interested reader might do better to simply read Herodotus's own work. All in all, a bit of a chore to read.
"Luminous. . . . Like Herodotus, Ryszard Kapuscinski was a reporter, a historian, an adventurer and, truly, an artist." --"The Wall Street Journal""Enchanting. . . . Underneath its shimmering prose beats the unquiet heart of a fundamentally decent man and an uncommonly gifted observer. . . . It has a startling clarity and power." --"The New Republic""A work of art: so eloquent, so simple, that you find yourself marveling at its prose....a travel book that all students of writing and of literature ought to read." --"The Washington Post Book World"