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Travels with Herodotus

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  • Posted March 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

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    Ancient and modern history intersect using Herodotus

    Ryzard Kapuscinski received his copy of Herodotus's "Histories" as a gift before his first (ever) trip outside his native Poland. Kapuscinski pondered over who Herodotus was, how did he come to learn and record so much of history, and what is the real/personal story behind the great events described in "Histories." Instead of proceeding linearly through Herodotus, Kapuscinski played out his thoughts on the "Histories" in contrast to his burgeoning career as an international reporter during the 1950s and 1960s, travelling to India, China, Egypt, the Congo, Algeria, and Ethiopia, and jumping to the appropriate points in the "Histories" to both illustrate a point and to take his mind off the very real dangers he faced during his travels. When writing about the different populations he meets, Kapuscinski describes custom and ritual from the point of one raised in a post-World War II/Eastern Bloc country and there is refreshingly little pre-concieved prejudice in his thoughts. However, those wishing to determine Kapuscinski's thoughts on his own country's political state will be disappointed; very little description is given of the political process in Poland. Kapuscinski has a lovely style and the book is very easy to read, a good way to slip into the great "Histories."

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    A Charming Travel Book

    "Travels With Herodotus" is imbued with the very likable and intelligent personality of the author, Ryszard Kapuscinski, who, while reading about life in the Mid-East in the pre-Christian era, as seen through the eyes of the first known historian, Herodotus, shares that history with us, while continuing to report on present-day struggles in far-off lands. A truly delightful book! <BR/>Theresa McKenna<BR/>Falls Church, Virginia

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 27, 2008

    Crossing the Border

    "We are, all of us, pilgrims who struggle along different paths toward the same destination." <BR/>- Antoine De Saint-Exupery <BR/><BR/><BR/>Ryszard Kapuscinski was Polish. He was born in Pinsk which is now Belarus ; but became one of the most famous and honored foreign correspondents. He is now deceased. For forty years, he traveled the globe from Iran to China to El Salvador to India. Like the ancient historian Herodotus, whose book The Histories was carried by Kapuscinski in all of his travels, Ryszard traveled the globe learning about the similarities and the many differences between the cultures of this planet. <BR/><BR/>Kapuscinski takes us on his journeys and through his eyes we capture his views of the new globalized world. He shows the reader how an ancient man (Herodotus, considered the Father of History) taught him with the work he published almost 2500 years ago to seek understanding first; and then to learn from the various cultures he would come across as a foreign correspondent. <BR/><BR/>Kapuscinski shares his gifted insights and observations as he remembers his past journeys; this memoir captures the essence of a very sensitive wanderer who wants to talk intimately about his travels and his life. <BR/><BR/>When Kapuscinski "crossed the border" and was allowed to travel outside of Poland, his world and his vantage point exploded into a vast number of possibilities that he had previously only dreamed about. It is my feeling that with this memoir the author wanted all of us to reach across our boundaries and our self imposed borders so we could experience more of what life has to offer. Maybe he is saying that all of us should not only look around us; but seek the unknown and wander beyond our comfort zone. <BR/><BR/>The author owed a lot to Herodotus as he traveled and this is as much a tribute to the memory of the ancient Herodotus as to the "memory of Kapuscinski". <BR/><BR/>"All memory is present." <BR/>- Novalis <BR/><BR/>Recommended. <BR/><BR/>Bentley/2008

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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