release date: Jan 29, 2013
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The Emperor: Downfall of an Autocrat
After Haile Selassie was deposed in 1974, Ryszard Kapuściński—Poland’s top foreign correspondent—went to Ethiopia to piece together a firsthand account of how the Emperor governed his country and why he fell from power. At great risk to himself, Kapuściński interviewed members of the imperial circle who had gone into hiding. The result is this remarkable book, an extraordinary study of power anywhere.
Amazon.com Review
Haile Selassie, His Most Puissant Majesty and Distinguished Highness the Emperor of Ethiopia, enjoyed a 44-year reign until his own army gave him the boot in 1974. In the days following the coup, the Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski traveled to Ethiopia and sought out members of the imperial court for interviews.

His composite portrait of Selassie's crumbling imperium is an astonishing, wildly funny creation, beginning with the very first interview. "It was a small dog," recalls an anonymous functionary, "a Japanese breed. His name was Lulu. He was allowed to sleep in the Emperor's great bed. During various ceremonies, he would run away from the Emperor's lap and pee on dignitaries' shoes. The august gentlemen were not allowed to flinch or make the slightest gesture when they felt their feet getting wet. I had to walk among the dignitaries and wipe the urine from their shoes with a satin cloth. This was my job for ten years." (Well, it's a living.)

Elsewhere, the interviewees venture into tragic or grotesque or downright unbelievable terrain. Kapuscinski has shaped their testimonies into an eloquent whole, and while he never alludes to the totalitarian regime that ruled his native Poland during the same period, the analogy is impossible to ignore.

After Haile Selassie was deposed in 1974, Ryszard Kapuściński—Poland’s top foreign correspondent—went to Ethiopia to piece together a firsthand account of how the Emperor governed his country and why he fell from power. At great risk to himself, Kapuściński interviewed members of the imperial circle who had gone into hiding. The result is this remarkable book, an extraordinary study of power anywhere.
Product details
BindingKindle Edition
Sales rank403229
Pages178
ManufacturerHoughton Mifflin Harcourt

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