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Travels with Herodotus [Paperback]

Ryszard Kapuscinski
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

1 May 2008
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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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (1 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141021144
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141021140
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 12.8 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 52,020 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"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"

About the Author

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely final work 13 July 2007
By Sally Wilton VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Ryszard Kapinscinski was made Poland's journalist of the century in 1999 and judging by his writing must have been truly deserved. He wrote thrillingly of his travels as a foreign correspondant in the worlds toughest countries. Sadly 'Travels' is his final book due to his death in January this year.

Having recently read Shadow of the Sun I was eager to seek out more of his writing and was therefore delighted that this publication from 2004 has been translated. It does not disappoint.

This non fiction book covers three areas. His youth in post war Poland, his travels as a reporter for PAP in the 50s and early 60s and through out the book it is bulked up by his musings on the travels of the 3rd Century BC Greek Herodotus. All of this make fascinating and gripping reading.

RK always writes with humility and understanding of the hardship and bleak poverty he encounters. His empathy clearly stems from his childhood in Poland and he relates a moving story about himself at 10 years old with no shoes trying to fund a new pair for the cold winter by selling green home made soap door to door with very little luck. His stoicism in these harsh circumstances must have helped to give him his unique and intrepid personality. He goes forth with a sort of naive bravado setting foot in countries where there is civil war, disease and unbearable climate and in the begining at least unable to speak any language but Polish and Russian.

The stories of Herodotus are interspersed thorughout and are not always obviously relevant. Nevertheless it has made me want to read more about the Greek and I will be seeking a copy soon.

RK has perfected a simplicity of writing which is always interesting.
Read more ›
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars curiosity 28 Jun 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you have read any other of his travel books, this one is different. It's almost as if he knew it would be his last, and in it he reflects on his travels, and the reasons people travel, in a developing dialogue with a writer who could be described as the world's first travel writer, Herodotus. What comes through the book very strongly is Kapuscinski's humanity, and his genuine curiosity about the places and the people he comes across - and this aspect does link with all his other writing. There is clearly a serious level of allegory in what he writes, as one might expect from a writer who developed and wrote under the shadow of Eastern European regimes. It's worth the reading and thinking time - and he has made me want to go off and read Herodotus for myself. In a world which is riven with strife and warfare, his plea for openness to the other and curiosity about that which is different, rather than the rejection and destruction of it, is his most important message for me.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Histories in the Modern World 13 Aug 2007
Format:Hardcover
This is an unusual book, a memoir of an extraordinary life on the cusp of world events, interwoven with the fabric of Herodotus's Histories, a book given to the author early in his journalistic career. Kapuscinski has provided some of the most perceptive observations on the history of the second half of the 20th century and this beautifully written document provides us with an insight into his development from a young naive reporter in Poland to the alert instinctive scribe of his international reporting career. It seems that Herodotus, his constant companion, played a formative role in this progression. Herodotus's Histories are written in an intriguing style in which many interleaving strands come to their natural conclusions at the end of each section and in which no seemingly insignificant detail is too slight to mention. Kapuscinski in some ways follows this stylistic approach with what appear frequently to be digressions from the main text demonstrating their profundity as you conclude the chapter. The descriptions of ordinary and extraordinary events in Kapuscinski's life, Louis Armstrongs's concert in Khartoum, being fleeced by a secret policeman in Cairo and his arrival at the epicentre of a coup in Algiers reflect the humanity of the writer at the centre of frequently appaling events. However, the perspective of Herodotus in placing man's inhumanity in context is never far away from the centre of the narrative. Several themes predominate in his musings on the Histories. Firstly, the inability of great leaders to take good advice as frequently reflected in adverse decisions made by Persian emporors Cyrus, Darius and Xerxes in their attempts at world domination. Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely and final work 6 Jun 2008
By Sally Wilton VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ryszard Kapinscinski was made Poland's journalist of the century in 1999 and judging by his writing must have been truly deserved. He wrote thrillingly of his travels as a foreign correspondant in the worlds toughest countries. Sadly 'Travels' is his final book due to his death in January this year.

Having recently read Shadow of the Sun I was eager to seek out more of his writing and was therefore delighted that this publication from 2004 has been translated. It does not disappoint.

This non fiction book covers three areas. His youth in post war Poland, his travels as a reporter for PAP in the 50s and early 60s and through out the book it is bulked up by his musings on the travels of the 3rd Century BC Greek Herodotus. All of this make fascinating and gripping reading.

RK always writes with humility and understanding of the hardship and bleak poverty he encounters. His empathy clearly stems from his childhood in Poland and he relates a moving story about himself at 10 years old with no shoes trying to fund a new pair for the cold winter by selling green home made soap door to door with very little luck. His stoicism in these harsh circumstances must have helped to give him his unique and intrepid personality. He goes forth with a sort of naive bravado setting foot in countries where there is civil war, disease and unbearable climate and in the begining at least unable to speak any language but Polish and Russian.

The stories of Herodotus are interspersed thorughout and are not always obviously relevant. Nevertheless it has made me want to read more about the Greek and I will be seeking a copy soon.

RK has perfected a simplicity of writing which is always interesting. He give the reader gold nuggets of information and insights into other worlds.
Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
a very good read - really enjoyed the book
Published 5 days ago by Mrs. A. Welch
5.0 out of 5 stars Overcoming the provincialism of time
The late Ryszard Kapuscinski had a formidable reputation as a reporter on the international stage and as a writer of rich, elegant and fascinating travel books. Read more
Published 4 months ago by R. A. Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it
Kapuscinski brings vividly to life a lost period of history with amazing anecdotes as he follows the paths traced out by his hero.
Published 5 months ago by danny__kay
3.0 out of 5 stars a chore to read
Travels with Herodotus is the ninth book published in English by award-winning Polish journalist, Ryszard Kapuscinski. It is translated by Klara Glowczewska. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Cloggie Downunder
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful read
I enjoyed this so much I have o;rdered two more copies for Christmas presents. A bit like Alastiair Cooke's letters from America - one thought or incident leads to another and it... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Lucinda Mackenzie
4.0 out of 5 stars Travels with Ryszard is better
I think when you've read a lot of Kapuscinski the bar is automatically very high. I did enjoy reading "Travels with Herodotus" but not quite as much as some of his other books... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Nico
5.0 out of 5 stars Al fresco dining and indoor bogs.
Old Herry was born in Bodrum, Turkey, ages ago and is oft credited with being the first historian.
He was also sometimes called The Father of Lies because of his fondness for... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Septimus Snurge
4.0 out of 5 stars a masterclass
Kapuscinski is/was a master travel writer, and my particular favourite. This book covers his early years as a foreign correspondent for a Polish newspaper, primarily in Asia and... Read more
Published 23 months ago by BrynG
2.0 out of 5 stars More Herodotus than Kapuscinski
I personally was disappointed, there was very little of the author's travels, compared to the pages attributed to Herodotus. Read more
Published on 22 Jun 2012 by Matthew Critchlow
5.0 out of 5 stars The first visionary on a world scale
Ryszard Kapusciñski's master companion in these hallucinating journeys is the book `The Histories' by the ancient Greek writer Herodotus. Read more
Published on 29 Jan 2011 by Luc REYNAERT
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