Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
115 internautes sur 119 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Dispatches From Dangerous Places4 juillet 2007
- Publié sur Amazon.com
As a young reporter in Poland in the 1950's, Ryszard Kapuscinski wondered what it would be like to cross the border. For someone living in a totalitarian society this would be a privelege. His goals were modest: he simply wanted to cross the border and come right back. He asked his editor at the Polish News Agency for permission to go to Czechoslavakia, instead they sent him to India with a clothbound copy of " The Histories" by Herodotus. The book fired his imagination and became a standard for his own travels. Although Herodotus live 2,500 years earlier, they shared many passions, the central one being an insatiable curiousity about foreign lands and peoples. During the course of his life and travels, Kapuscinski would experience 27 coups and revolutions, and be sentenced to death 4 times.
Kapuscinski has written some remarkable books, most of which have been translated into English. He reported from Tehran after the fall of the Shah, he chronicled the life of Haile Selassie, and he was in Angola when Portuguese colonists pulled up stakes and left the country, beautifully described in "Another Day of Life."
"Travels with Herodotus" is more personal and introspective than his earlier works. Some critics have questioned his purported use of Herodotus as a lifelong guide when he was never mentioned before in his 30 year career as a journalist. Jack Shafer of "Slate" has written an essay entitled "The Lies of Ryszard Kapuscinski," arguing that a sharp line must be drawn between journalism and fiction. In Kapuscinski's reporting the line is never clearcut. Many of his admirers claim that he has earned his poetic license and is therefore entitled to embellish a little. It is as if Kapucinski anticipated this criticism in advance by choosing Herodotus as his role model in his final book. Herodotus famously tended to fabricate when facts were not available.
Since Kapuscinski's death other damaging information has come to light. It has been revealed from Polish state archives that he was a communist collaborator. How else could he have been allowed to travel abroad all those years? And how else could he have known so well the nature of totalitarian regimes and how they coopted their citizens?
The truth here is never straight forward, it is not journalism as Jack Shafer would define it. Nevertheless, the work under review is a beautifully written memoir from which it is easy to see why Kapuscinski was one of the world's most highly regarded literary journalists. The truth that shines through is reminiscent of the magical realism of Latin American writers, but it would not pass muster in a journalism class.
I would recommend this book so one can decide for oneself whether Kapuscinski is more like Herodotus the "father of history" or Herodotus the "father of lies."
25 internautes sur 26 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
A poet and a true journalist31 juillet 2007
- Publié sur Amazon.com
I've read most of Kapuscinski's books and I have to say that this is among the best, simply because this text gives readers even more insights into the man. Kapuscinski had an erudition you rarely find in reportage and what's more, he had what so many journalists these days lack: limitless curiosity.
In our age of 24/7/365 media coverage of everything under the sun, most journalists are simply out there looking to create stories where there really aren't any or follow what other agencies are reporting on. Kapuscinski, on the other hand, follows his own instincts and digs beyond surface appearances around him -- whether at home, in Africa or in the Far East -- to give his readers details that are at the heart of cultures other than his own.
Kapuscinski, perhaps because of his youth spent in post-War eastern Europe, had a great eye for irony and the tendency for history to repeat itself, often with devastating effects. But in spite of his witnessing of the absurb, the violent and the wasteful, Kapuscinski never stops digging for truth, never stops pushing himself beyond the familiar, just as his forebearer Herodotus did centuries before.
25 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
A Beautiful, Moving Final Book from Kapuscinski28 juin 2007
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Kapuscinski's final book is equal parts travel diary and meditation on Herodotus' Histories, apt because the Herodotus RK celebrates shares much the same virtues as RK: an unmistakable humanity and literacy that shines through in their reportage. Having received a copy of Herodotus' great work from an editor as a suggested travel companion early in his career, RK came back to the work again and again during his own travels, and this book is the story of how his love for Herodotus illumined his own travels.
A very fitting final word from, without a doubt, the finest journalist of the 20th century, and a very beautiful book, befitting the best of RK.
17 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Much Ado about Little1 mai 2009
R. M. Peterson
- Publié sur Amazon.com
TRAVELS WITH HERODOTUS has two aspects: first, a reader's guide to Herodotus and "The Histories", and second, a sort of memoir, which, by virtue of the fact that Kapuscinski made his career as a global journalist, is basically a travel memoir. The book has been very favorably received by Amazon reviewers, but I don't understand what all the hullabaloo is about. TRAVELS WITH HERODOTUS pales in comparison with the one other book of Kapuscinski's that I have read, "The Shadow of the Sun." Maybe people are more favorably inclined towards the book because it was published posthumously, after Kapuscinski succumbed to a fast and virulent cancer, but the truth of the matter is that it is at best an average book. (The childhood tale of the emperor's new clothes comes to mind.)
My biggest problem with TRAVELS WITH HERODOTUS is Kapuscinski's style. Basically, he talks down to his readers; it's as if the book were written for his grandchildren or adolescent schoolchildren. There are isolated passages that approach the "literate reportage" that Kapuscinski is noted for from his other works, but there is far too much drivel, such as the following two examples:
"Herodotus is silent on this subject, but it is an important moment to consider--one cannot live in the desert without water; deprived of it, a human being succumbs quickly to dehydration."
"What sort of child is Herodotus? Does he smile at everyone and willingly extend his hand, or does he sulk and hide in the folds of his mother's garments? Is he an eternal crybaby and whiner, giving his tormented mother at times to sigh: Gods, why did I give birth to such a child! Or is he cheerful, spreading joy all around? Is he obedient and polite, or does he torture everyone with questions: Where does the sun come from? Why is it so high up that no one can reach it? Why does it hide beneath the sea? Isn't it afraid of drowning?"
If you like extended paragraphs of exclusively, or predominantly, speculative and rhetorical questions such as these, you may like this book better than I do, because it contains dozens of such paragraphs.
As the two examples also typify, much of TRAVELS WITH HERODOTUS consists of "Kapuscinski on Herodotus and The Histories: A Reader's Guide." Kapuscinski was introduced to Herodotus just out of college, as a fledgling reporter, after a Polish translation of "The Histories" was belatedly published in the wake of Stalin's death. Kapuscinski took "The Histories" with him around the world on his journalistic travels and, apparently, read it multiple times. Herodotus was his muse, and no doubt he at times fancied himself a modern-day Herodotus. So he shares with us some of his obsession with Herodotus, including not only speculation about biographical matters, but also pages of paraphrase, exegesis, and conjecture about "The Histories," including about 30 pages (cumulatively) of direct quotations from the 1998 English translation by Robin Waterfield. It is almost as if Kapuscinski owned the sole copy of "The Histories" (maybe back in the Poland of the Stalin years) and is benignantly sharing it with his deprived fellow humans, whereas of course in at least the English-speaking world "The Histories" is widely available in many editions. Me, I would rather read and speculate about Herodotus and his work directly from one of those editions.
As for the portion of TRAVELS WITH HERODOTUS that is sort of travel memoir, that, unfortunately, is too skimpy. We are given snippets of Kapuscinski's experiences and impressions from trips to India, China, Africa, and Iran, but those extracts comprise only about half the book, and within that half, the percentage of trenchant observation or commentary is much lower than it was in "The Shadow of the Sun." Still, there are enough incisive observations -- such as the one about all dictatorships taking advantage of the "idle magma" of "superfluous people" to be their unpaid eyes and ears (in effect, an ad hoc secret police) -- that I can give the book, despite its major weaknesses, three stars.
22 internautes sur 26 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Searching the World22 juin 2007
- Publié sur Amazon.com
A book for all aspiring foreign correspondents. The author interweaves tales from his early career as a journalist, assigned by his Polish employer to cover various third-world countries, with the ancient historian Herodotus' similar restless quest for information on the other.
A very polished literary effort by a wise person, now sadly dead.