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Posted March 13, 2010
Kapuscinski at his best
Profound yet accessible, the Emperor ostensibly talks about the reign of Haile Selassie of Ethiopia but on a deeper level exposes the nature of all autocrats, examining the underpinnings of despotic rule. This book started the author's international career and there is a good reason for it. He brilliantly tells the story from the perspective of the Emperor's servants, showing a behind-the-curtain perspective of the court. Ironic and slightly archaic literary style is surprisingly fresh and universal. This is not a history book about Ethiopia, nor a biography of its last Emperor. It is a universally applicable, in-depth analysis of the disfunctions of authoritarian rule wherever it holds a grip on power. All in all, a wonderful book!
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