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The Shadow of the Sun

Category: Book
By (author): Kapuscinski, Ryszard
Subject:  HISTORY / Africa / General
  HISTORY / General
Publisher: Knopf Canada
Published: April 2002
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 352
Size: 8.00in x 5.22in
Our Price:
$ 21.00
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Additional Notes

From The Publisher*A moving portrait of Africa from Poland's most celebrated foreign correspondent - a masterpiece from a modern master.

Famous for being in the wrong places at just the right times, Ryszard Kapuscinski arrived in Africa in 1957, at the beginning of the end of colonial rule - the "sometimes dramatic and painful, sometimes enjoyable and jubilant" rebirth of a continent. The Shadow of the Sun sums up the author's experiences ("the record of a 40-year marriage") in this place that became the central obsession of his remarkable career.

From the hopeful years of independence through the bloody disintegration of places like Nigeria, Rwanda and Angola, Kapuscinski recounts great social and political changes through the prism of the ordinary African. He examines the rough-and-ready physical world and identifies the true geography of Africa: a little-understood spiritual universe, an African way of being. He looks also at Africa in the wake of two epoch-making changes: the arrival of AIDS and the definitive departure of the white man.

Kapuscinski's rare humanity invests his subjects with a grandeur and a dignity unmatched by any other writer on the Third World, and his unique ability to discern the universal in the particular has never been more powerfully displayed than in this work.
Review Quote*"This harrowing, at times shattering, chronicle of 40 years of adventures in Africa finds Kapuscinski in trouble again. . . . He crushes a cobra to save his life, moves with nomads through Somalia, and waits to die from thirst beneath a truck in the Sahara. Kapuscinski alternates between plain prose and shimmering imagery, using understatement to dispel easy stereotypes about Africa and Africans, and finishing a paragraph or two of spare exposition with some dazzling revelation or note of remorse that leaves you reeling. With rare exception, these distant episodes amaze." - Brad Wieners, Outside

"An astonishing piece of writing . . . as vital a book as any I've read in recent years, an outstanding introduction to the tangled threads of African culture and politics and a manual in the modes of human cruelty and redemption . . . Kapuscinski . . . may be the greatest journalist of our time. . . . Kapuscinski bears his historical baggae lightly through the African landscape, but his inability to tell the story in the dispassionate tones of an outsider is what gives this visionary book such power." - Mark Levine, Men's Journal

From the U.K. :

"A dazzling narrative historian, using his own experience as the principal archive. . . . he is never less than clear and pungent; his short chapter on the genocidal hatreds of Rwanda is worth a hundred newspaper features. . . . He brings the world to us as nobody else." - Ian Jack, The Observer

"Kapuscinski doesn't just 'cover' Africa - he knows it. His perspective is both vast and uniquely informed." - Keith Wilson, Focus

"His book most successfully conveys the charms, frustrations, tragedies, comedies, brutalities, and kindnesses of life in Africa. . . . as an observer, and as a recorder of his observations, he is second to none." - Anthony Daniels, Sunday Telegraph

"His is the first wide-ranging, elegant, aristocratic intelligence since Conrad's to bear on Africa in all its perplexity. . . . Kapuscinski is a master of the charismatic shorthand that leaves the reader knowing all there is to know, yet wanting to know more." - Jeremy Harding, Evening Standard

"Both subtle and haunting, a book written with love and longing, as sharp and life-enhancing as the sun that rises on an African morning." - Anthony Sattin, Sunday Times

"An elliptical picture of African life that is intellectually acute and emotionally rich." - Will Cohu, Daily Telegraph

"He has given the truest, least partial, most comprehensive and vivid account of what life is like on our planet. He is an unflinching witness and an exuberant stylist." - Geoff Dyer, The Guardian
Biographical NoteRyszard Kapuscinski was born in 1932. During four decades reporting on Asia, Latin America and Africa, he befriended Che Guevera, Salvador Allende and Patrice Lumumba. He witnessed 27 coups and revolutions and was sentenced to death four times. His books have been translated into nineteen languages.