The Emperor: Downfall of an Autocrat (Penguin Classics) and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
  • RRP: £8.99
  • You Save: £1.80 (20%)
FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10.
Only 9 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
FREE Delivery on orders over £10.
Condition: Used: Like New
Comment: All purchases eligible for Amazon customer service and a 30-day return policy.
Trade in your item
Get a £1.15
Gift Card.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Emperor: Downfall of an Autocrat (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 1 Jun 2006


See all 8 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
£7.19
£1.81 £1.74

Frequently Bought Together

The Emperor: Downfall of an Autocrat (Penguin Classics) + Shah of Shahs (Penguin Classics) + Another Day of Life (Penguin Modern Classics)
Price For All Three: £21.57

Buy the selected items together


Trade In this Item for up to £1.15
Trade in The Emperor: Downfall of an Autocrat (Penguin Classics) for an Amazon Gift Card of up to £1.15, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (1 Jun 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141188030
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141188034
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 44,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Review

""[The Emperor]" transcends reportage, becoming a nightmare of power... An unforgettable, fiercely comic, and finally compassionate book."--Salman Rushdie "Kapuscinski transcends the limitations of journalism and writes with the narrative power of a Conrad or Kipling or Orwell."--Blake Morrison "A Stunning exhibit; the interviewed subjects. . .enunciate their memories of the days of Haile Selassie with a magical elegance that. . .achieves poetry and aphorism."--John Updike, "The New Yorker"

About the Author

Born in Pinsk, now in Belarus, in 1932, Kapuscinski was the pre-eminent writer among Polish reporters. Kapuscinski's best-known book is just such a reportage-novel of the decline of Haile Selassie's anachronistic regime in Ethiopia - The Emperor, which has been translated into many languages. Shah of Shahs, about the last Shah of Iran, and Imperium, about the last days of the Soviet Union, have enjoyed similar success. He died in January 2007.

Neal Ascherson was born in Edinburgh in 1932, and has worked as a journalist all his life - mostly as a foreign correspondent in east-central Europe and in Africa. For some 12 years he was a columnist on The Observer and The Independent on Sunday. He wrote two books about Poland, and his recent works include Black Sea (1995) and Stone Voices (2002). Neal Ascherson lives in London and is married to the journalist and broadcaster Isabel Hilton.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
In the evenings I listened to those who had known the Emperor's court. Read the first page
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Simon May on 10 Jan 2007
Format: Paperback
I have just finished reading this book - and I loved it.

I was given it as a Christmas gift; having added it to my Amazon wish list !

I first came across Ryszard Kapuscinski after reading "The Shadow of the Sun: My African Life", which I also loved. I like Kapuscinski's reportage style, but I am particularly gripped by his insight.

As for the actual book; I think that the mechanism that Kapuscinski uses for telling the story - vignettes from different individuals - is a great way of telling a story. The reader receives a variety of perspectives, which on their own may not tell the whole story, but collectively form a mossaic which gives far more detail than simple reportage could ever do.

By the end of the book, I felt that I had a pretty good impression of life in the court of Haile Selassie, but I also felt that I had a much clearer understanding of life in the court of any autocratic absolute monarch - such as King Charles I of England or the Kings Louis' of France.

Highly recommended !
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Tim the knife on 28 Oct 2006
Format: Paperback
Kapuscinsky at his finest! As the world falls apart around Haille Selassie, Kapuscinsky documents his inexorable downfall. But, as always this is not just a documentary. This is colourful, flavoursome, deliciously ironic, bitterly sweet and, whilst inciting despair, drawing symapthy and anger at the same time. If there is one Kapuscinsky to read - make it this one.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By apressello on 27 July 2006
Format: Paperback
This is one of a number of amazing works of journalism by Ryszard Kapuscinski, who covered the Third World for the Polish Press Agency until 1981.

In typical Kapuscinski style, in 1974 he went to Ethiopia in the middle of a successful coup attempt to interview servants and associates of the soon-to-be-deposed Emperor Haile Selassie to discover how he ruled and why he was overthrown. The result is a wonderfully composed text that is practically dripping with irony, regret, and even humor.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Franz Bieberkopf on 25 July 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fantastic!!This was Kapuscinski's first book to be translated into English,and the second of his I read(the first was "Another Day Of Life").
It is a sequence of reminiscence-s of Haile Selasse's court,rendered by a bunch of flunkies,hangers-on and true believers,and they are amazing.When you read one of them arguing that periodic famine is good for Ethiopians,or another saying that education is bad because it's easy to go from the habit of reading to the habit of thinking,you are shaking your head in disbelief.
The second major theme in the book is the Red Terror(the fetasha)launched by the military committee(the Dergue)taking place as Kapuscinski is in Addis Ababa researching this book.His descriptions of crazed soldiers manning jeeps and roadblocks,searching everything and not being averse to opening fire on any real or imagined enemies,is a fantastic description of life under terror.
As you finish this,remember that Kapuscinski was a citizen of a Communist dicatorship in Poland.Is this book really about Ethiopia,or is it Kapuscinski writing about terror and dictatorship in general,a thinly disguised critique of Gierek's Poland?Some Poles I've spoken to about say the former,some the latter.Judge for yourself.
A fine piece of reportage,and well up to Kapuscinski's finest standards.Beware though-if this is the first of his books that you've read,you'll end up reading all of them.Start saving now!!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 Oct 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a fascinating review of Haile Selassie's reign, told in their own words by people who were in his court. The stories include some really amazing insights into the regime, e.g. the guy who was the official pillow bearer and was responsible for carrying 54 different-thickness pillows (for different height chairs) around the world to place under Selassie's feet so his legs wouldn't dangle. Kapuscinski, by letting the narrators' stories stand as told to him, simultaneously creates a sense of documentary objectivity and of subjectivity in that the stories are personal accounts, and you end up not knowing what to believe. I have some Ethiopian friends who say that the book is full of lies, but raising that very question seems to be the author's point. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in history or, more generally, in the excesses of human existence.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John P. Jones III TOP 500 REVIEWER on 6 Jan 2011
Format: Paperback
Ryszard Kapuscinski has lead a remarkable life, much of it related in his autobiographical work, "Ebene." In part by inclination, in part by necessity, he saw so much more of Africa, in particular, than literally scores of Western journalists on 5-star hotel expense accounts. Coming from a country in what was once called the "Eastern bloc," Poland, his much more basic expense account did not provide a comfortable, air-conditioned bed each night, and the gossip at the bar. And he, as well as we are richer for that. Kapuscinski also managed to locate himself in the right place at the right time -- the "Holy Grail" of good journalists --and was able to report on the fall of the Shah in Iran, as well as the collapse of Portuguese rule in Angola in 1974. But the story of the reign and fall of the "King of Kings," Haile Selassie, in Ethiopia, also in 1974, is my favorite book.

A man with as many august titles as Haile Selassie might object to a reference as lowly as a mere The Prince (Penguin Classics) but I am referring Niccolo Machiavelli's classic work on rulers and their judicious, cynical use of power. For that is the essence of Kapuscinski's work, and I think it is a serious mistake, which some other reviewers made, to assume this is only about "totalitarian regimes."

Kapuscinski says that via a vital contact who used to work in the regime of Haile Selassie he was able to interview a number of his former functionaries who had survived the purge (and executions) after the revolution. Via these interviews, he reconstructs a telling, comic, and tragic portrait of palace life.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews



Feedback