Ryszard Kapuscinski should have got a Nobel Prize

The Washington Post reports the death of Ryszard Kapuscinski:

Ryszard Kapuscinski a Polish writer and journalist who gained international acclaim for his books chronicling wars, coups and revolutions in Africa, the Middle East and other parts of the world, died of a heart attack, his literary agent said. He was 74.

His book The Emperor about Haile Selassie is one of the great studies of dictatorship; and the Shadow of the Sun is among the very best accounts of travelling in Africa.

1 thought on “Ryszard Kapuscinski should have got a Nobel Prize”

  1. I was lucky enough to meet him a few times while I was in Poland  (1986-88) and to get to know him a little.  He was remarkably modest and unassuming (in my experience anyway) and fascinating to listen to.  A great and extraordinarily perceptive writer and  a great man too.   Polish people have a remarkable capacity for interpreting everything — novels, plays, television soap operas — as a commentary on specifically Polish affairs, even when they are the creations of writers with no obvious experience of or interest in Poland.  But Kapuscinski,  as a Pole himself, could credibly be assumed to have Polish affairs in mind  even when writing about matters with no overt Polish connections — such as the emperor of Ethiopia or football in Latin America.  This gives almost everything he wrote a tantalising extra dimension.  Since much of his work was done when Poland’s deeply unpopular communist regime was capable of severely penalising dissent,  some of Kapuscinski’s output demonstrated real courage.


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