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From renowned journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski comes this intimate account of his years in the field, traveling for the first time beyond the Iron Curtain to India, China, Ethiopia, and other exotic locales.
In the 1950s, Kapuscinski finished university in Poland and became a foreign correspondent, hoping to go abroad-perhaps to Czechoslovakia. Instead, he was sent to India-the first stop on a decades-long tour of the world that took him from Iran to El Salvador, from Angola to Armenia. Revisiting his memories of traveling the globe with a copy of Herodotus's The Histories in tow, Kapuscinski describes his awakening to the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of new environments, and how the words of the Greek historiographer helped shape his own view of an increasingly globalized world. Written with supreme eloquence and a constant eye to the global undercurrents that have shaped the last half century, Travels with Herodotus is an exceptional chronicle of one man's journey across continents.
Excerpted from Travels with Herodotus by Ryszard Kapuscinski Copyright © 2008 by Ryszard Kapuscinski. Excerpted by permission.
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Crossing the Border
Condemned to India
The Train Station and the Palace
Rabi Sings the Upanishads
Chairman Mao’s One Hundred Flowers
Memory Along the Roadways of the World
The Happiness and the Unhappiness of Croesus
The Battle’s End
On the Origins of the Gods
The View from the Minaret
The Face of Zopyrus
Among Dead Kings and Forgotten Gods
Honors for the Head of Histiaeus
At Doctor Ranke’s
The Greek’s Technique
Before He Is Torn Apart by Dogs and Birds
The Oath of Athens
The Desert and the Sea
Black Is Beautiful
Scenes of Passion and Prudence
We Stand in Darkness, Surrounded by Light
Posted January 18, 2014
Travels with Herodotus is the ninth book published in English by award-winning Polish journalist, Ryszard Kapuscinski. It is translated by Klara Glowczewska. In the mid 1950’s, as a young journalist, Kapuscinski expressed a desire to go abroad, “Czechoslovakia, maybe?” His editor handed him a copy of The Histories by Herodotus of Halicarnassus and sent him to India. And later China. So begins this memoir, a somewhat disjointed account of Kapuscinski’s own travels through places like Egypt, Libya, Belgian Congo, Iran, Ethiopia, Algiers, Senegal and Turkey; an account which is liberally interspersed with quotes from The Histories, and muses on knowledge lost and memory and the recording of it, on war, conflict, the origins of hostilities, slavery and communication with other people. Perhaps it would be more correct to describe this as a book about Herodotus’s The Histories, punctuated with tenuously related accounts of Kapuscinski’s travels (some detailed, some more superficial). Kapuscinski refers to Herodotus as “my Greek” and is obviously journalistically inspired by him. This book might be enjoyed by readers interested in ancient history and Herodotus; while there are a few interesting parts for the average reader, many will find the bits in between tedious, dry and rather boring. The quotes from The Histories are actually the best parts of this book, so an interested reader might do better to simply read Herodotus’s own work. All in all, a bit of a chore to read.
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Posted December 8, 2008
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