The Shadow of the Sun

The Shadow of the Sun


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The Shadow of the Sun by Ryszard Kapuscinski

In 1957, Ryszard Kapuscinski arrived in Africa to witness the beginning of the end of colonial rule as the first African correspondent of Poland's state newspaper. From the early days of independence in Ghana to the ongoing ethnic genocide in Rwanda, Kapuscinski has crisscrossed vast distances pursuing the swift, and often violent, events that followed liberation. Kapuscinski hitchhikes with caravans, wanders the Sahara with nomads, and lives in the poverty-stricken slums of Nigeria. He wrestles a king cobra to the death and suffers through a bout of malaria. What emerges is an extraordinary depiction of Africa--not as a group of nations or geographic locations--but as a vibrant and frequently joyous montage of peoples, cultures, and encounters. Kapuscinski's trenchant observations, wry analysis and overwhelming humanity paint a remarkable portrait of the continent and its people. His unorthodox approach and profound respect for the people he meets challenge conventional understandings of the modern problems faced by Africa at the dawn of the twenty-first century.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679779070
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/28/2002
Series: Vintage International Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 793,915
Product dimensions: 5.16(w) x 7.98(h) x 0.71(d)

About the Author

Ryszard Kapuscinski lives in Warsaw, Poland.

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The Shadow of the Sun 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
hanro More than 1 year ago
As I started reading, I was getting really frustrated. At first, I was dealing with a series of memoirs, sketches, anecdotes, lyrical prose and imagery told by a master raconteur ... which was all well and good ... but I was really getting hung up on the context. When was this happening? Why was Kapuscinski there? Was he there for a particular event or was this meeting a chance occurrence? As I kept reading, I realized there was a quality of timelessness in his observations and descriptions. This narrative was less about a specific time or place; it became a narrative of human nature and experience. And this point was crystallized in the final chapter in which Kapuscinski muses about history and myth, recounting the life in a village in Erithrea. Just wonderful!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book, The Shadow of the Sun, was amazing. What I loved most was having come upon an adventure through reading something I have never experienced before. I usually stick to the books that explore more modern day, instead of branching out to other ideas in different time periods. I am so glad I read this book because what I read was not something out of the ordinary but it showed different life styles around the world in different cultures. This book is set in 1957, where Ryszard Kapuscinski, even though there are others who travel, observes and writes about what he sees as an African correspondent. I loved the writers craft because of the deep intelligence to write as much as he did about so much. It is highly detailed and heartfelt; the author has explored the mountains of high, lightly populated ground where journalism and literature occur. It is a close-up that is filled with faces, landscapes, rutted roads, and the daily dangers of African life. He crushes a cobra to save his life, moves with nomads through Somalia, and waits to die from thirst beneath a truck in the Sahara. The author changes between plain imagery, using understatement to show easy stereotypes about Africa and Africans, and finishes with a paragraph with dazzling revelation that leaves you wanting more. This astonishing piece of work is something I would recommend to many people and hope they would enjoy it as much as I did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a captivating read! As soon as I finished it I started reading it again. So much information and the stories are related in such a wonderful way. Great writing. LOVED this book. One of the all time best regarding the power and mystery of Africa.
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tamesthetic More than 1 year ago
Kapuscinski is an awesome writer. The poetry of his writing is so absorbing and beautiful. If you have not discovered this book, you have not discovered the real Africa in all its differences and all its varied perspectives. It is so much more multi-dimentional than I had ever suspected, even after reading books like Kafir and Shaka Zulu - this book has opened up so much of the interior of the land and mind of Africa. His writing is so visible I feel like I was there on that incredible journey. Most impressive is his insight. Anything could have been revealed but in his highly speculative eyes, nothing was just as a fact - he saw so much more than many of us would have come away with and --- and this for a white Polish. Very unbiased exploration of the people and the land, credible and enlightening. Don't take my word for it - buy the book. Even if you don't care about the continent - the book does not take you down the usual path of the struggles of apartheid - it is something you feel, not a view being imparted by someone with the burden of a shared history with these people. I highly recommend this author. I also recommend his previous book, The Emporer, which I have been told is twice as great!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book encompasses many African countries which the author visits. The trip you feel you are taking along with him not only informs you about things perhaps you never knew existed, the conditions under which they live, the culture as it really is, but he is able to interject into some of the hairy experiences, humor and makes you laugh. While the overall content of the book is not meant to be humorous, he manages to find certain moments and lighten up the feeling you get of being mentally drained, tired and physically depleted. In the end, just like travelling to another country, you finish the book with a different, more informed perspective.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i have read this book in italian a year ago, and was amazed that it had not yet been translated into english. i have since then given it as a present to at least 15 friends/acquaintances. for the first time in my life i had the impression that some one had decided to tell the truth about africa, a truth that is so incredibly unpleasant and yet so extremely interesting. the experiences kapuszinsky shares are unique, have a very unusual 'cut' and are in some ways enlightning. i recommend this book to whoever is interested in learning about a continent but is not keen on fairy tales. this makes any other journalistic accounts that i have read of the events in question sound biased (and blush for naivity). a real tough eye-opener!