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Another Day of Life (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 7 Jun 2001

4.6 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (7 Jun. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014118678X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141186788
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 189,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

?Despite Kapuscinski's insistence that 'the image of war is not communicable.' He has done just that and done it very well. "Newsweek"

From the Inside Flap

Ryszard Kapuscinski is widely regarded as one of the twentieth century's preeminent journalists, demonstrating an almost mystical ability to discover the odd or overlooked and incorporating these sometimes surreal details into narratives that go beyond mere reportage and enter the realm of literature.
Another Day of Life" is Kapuscinski's dramatic account of the three months he spent in Angola at the beginning of its decades' long civil war. The capital, Luanda, is occupied only by those not fortunate enough to flee. When even the dogs abandoned by the Europeans leave, Kapuscinski decides to go to the front, where the wrong greeting could cost your life and where young soldiers-from Cuba, Russia, South Africa, Portugal-are fighting a war with global repercussions. With harrowing detail, Kapuscinski shows us the peculiar brutality of a country divided by its newfound freedom.
Translated from the Polish by William R. Brand and Katarzyna Mroczkowska-Brand. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
Kapuscinski's reportage is uniquely engaging, often showing close similarity in style to the 'magical realism' (forgive the term!) of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. In this, perhaps his best book and probably my favourite work of reportage, he describes life as a Polish foreign correspondent caught up in the last days of the Portuguese empire, in Angola in 1975. He describes the changes taking place as the Portuguese leave and Angola descends into the hell of civil war. He is not afraid (or is afraid, but still does it!) to risk his skin, travelling as a sole outside witness in hair-raising circumstances to report to the world. Kapuscinski shows a close bond to the people that he writes of - one of his great strengths - and a strong sense of humour. If you are interested in 20th century African history, and want more that a dry text, this is one of several books to read by Kapuscinski! There is no equivalent.
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Format: Paperback
... "I read many of the dispatches sent from Luanda in those days. I admired the opulence of human fantasy." This is Ryszard Kapuscinski's biting assessment of the quality of reportage by so many of his fellow war correspondents. Kapuscinski made necessity into a virtue. He was a reporter for the Polish News Agency, which could not afford the lavish expense accounts that so many Westerner correspondents had, who all too often had the tendency to file their dispatches from the 5-star hotel in the capital, after talking with those who frequented the bars at these hotels. Kapuscinski was either lucky, or quite prescient, (or both) managing to be in the right place at the right time. He was in Iran for the fall of the Shah, which he described in Shah of Shahs (Penguin Classics) and in Ethiopia shortly after the fall of Haile Sellassie, which he described in The Emperor: Downfall of an Autocrat (Penguin Classics) This book which describes the very last days of Portuguese rule in Angola in 1975 may not have the same intensity of insights as the other two books, but still, it is excellent, and is the only view that we have of these last days.

Angola is rarely in the news (or of interest in the West, particularly since the end of the Cold War). It was mis-ruled by Portugal for three and a half centuries, and its principal export was slaves. This trade was so lucrative and prolific that the country is still under populated.
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Format: Paperback
One of the finest books about modern Angola Kapuchinski's eyewitness accounts of the evacuation of the Portuguese, independence, the South African invasion and the beginnings of the Angolan civil war crackles with versimilitude, and reads like poetry.

He captures beautifully the city of Luanda and the sureality of its emptying of settlers in the face of decolonisation, the terror of road convoys through bloodily contested countryside, and ordinary rhythms of life that go on in the midst of cataclysm.

It is an extraordinary work of journalism, gripping as a thriller and moving as a tragedy. Beautiful.
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Format: Paperback
This is a remarkable book describing the civil war in Angola in 1975 but at street level. The author describes in fascinating real-time the emptying of the capital Luanda as the Portuguese civilians and soldiers pack their crates and quit, leaving behind a brutal scrap for the remains of a city and a country. Kapuaeiñski does not give a typical Western correspondent's view, from the distance of a neighbouring country or the security of a short stay in a 5-star hotel, but rather one from the ground, from a position where he is one of the vulnerable, embroiled in events as well as observing them. He draws global struggles into the side streets, homes, shops and bars in a way that makes the randomness of death terrifying by its ordinariness. A wrongly chosen word of greeting at a checkpoint means death instead of life. He has the reader accompany him into his own terrible, ordinary, lottery of survival. You smell the sweat and the fear of war. I found myself expecting half-crazed soldiers to break into the room at any point and abruptly end his dialogue. There are moments where he telexes to his press agency and you realise there is an outside, normal world beyond this nightmare. As if it is game over and he has switched off the screen. But this is no fantasy.

Kapuaeiñski is a courageous man and writer. He flies in the opposite direction - arriving as others leave. In doing so he delivers a text that does not permit one to ignore the grubbiness of war. He keeps the balance of the political events rooted in the reality of vividly described individuals that walk with him through this book. After everything, he manages nevertheless to leave the reader with a sense of hope as he relates the small acts of humanity and determination for life which light up this frightening scene. A book I highly recommend.
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