Imperium | Granta

  • Published: 07/02/2019
  • ISBN: 9781783785254
  • 133x20mm
  • pages


Ryszard Kapuscinski

Translated by Klara Glowceska, Klara Glowczewska

Imperium is a classic of reportage and a literary masterwork by one of the great writers and witnesses of the twentieth century. It is the story of an empire: the constellation of states that was submerged under a single identity for most of the century-the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. From the entrance of Soviet troops into his hometown in Poland in 1939, to just before the Berlin Wall came down, as the USSR convulsed and died, Kapuscinski travelled thousands of miles and talked to hundreds of ordinary Soviet people about their extraordinary lives and the terror from which they were emerging.

The Author

Ryszard Kapuscinski was born in 1932 in Pinsk in eastern Poland and educated in Warsaw. His first book, The Polish Bush, which reported from the Polish ‘frontier’, appeared in 1962 and was an immediate best-seller. He travelled widely throughout the Third World as a foreign correspondent, storing up, as he once said in an interview, the experiences for the books that would come later. The first of these books, published in 1968, was based on a journey through Islamic Russia. This was followed by books on Africa, Latin America and South Africa. His first book to be translated into English was The Emperor, based on the last days of Haile Selassie. His other books in English include Another Day of Life, about the war in Angola, and Shah of Shahs, about the revolution in Iran. He is also the author of the highly acclaimed Imperium, the story of his travels across the dying empire of the Soviet Union in 1989, which is also published by Granta Books. Ryszard Kapuscinski died in Warsaw in January 2007 at the age of seventy-four.

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The Translator

Klara Glowczewska was born in Warsaw, Poland, and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina, Cairo, Egypt, and New Canaan, Connecticut. She has translated, from the Polish to English, two books by the internationally acclaimed writer Ryszard Kapuściński, about the former Soviet Union (Imperium) and Africa (The Shadow of the Sun). Klara Glowczewska was appointed Editor in Chief of Condé Nast Traveler in January 2005, having served as the magazine’s Executive Editor since December 1992.

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From the Same Author

The Soccer War

Ryszard Kapuscinski, translated by William Brand

In 1964 Ryszard Kapuscinski was appointed by the Polish Press Agency as its only foreign correspondent, and for the next ten years he was ‘responsible’ for fifty countries. He befriended Che Guevara in Bolivia, Salvador Allende in Chile and Patrice Lumumba in the Congo. He reported on the fighting that broke out between Honduras and El Salvador in 1969 around their matches to determine which one of them would qualify for the 1970 World Cup. By the time he returned to Poland he had witnessed twenty-seven revolutions and coups. The Soccer War is Kapuscinski’s eyewitness account of some of the most defining moments in twentieth-century history.

Ryszard Kapuscinski on

Essays & Memoir | Granta 28

The Snow in Ghana

Ryszard Kapuściński

‘We always carry it to foreign countries, all over the world, our pride and our powerlessness.’ Translated from the Polish by William Brand.

Essays & Memoir | Granta 28


Ryszard Kapuściński

Ryszard Kapuściński, once the only foreign correspondent for the Polish Press Agency, on the concept of borders.

Fiction | Granta 28

Startled In The Dark

Ryszard Kapuscinski

‘Morning and dusk are by far the best times of day in Africa. The sun is scorching, but these times allow you to live.'