Ryszard Kapuściński: A Life by Artur Domosławski (Translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones) - review by Matthew Green

Matthew Green

Man of Parts

Ryszard Kapuściński: A Life


Verso Books 456pp £25

Ryszard Kapuściński was journalism’s answer to superman. His blend of suicidal derring-do and empathy for the powerless transformed the messy ingredients of daily news coverage into literary gold. A witness to dozens of wars, coups and revolutions, he befriended Che Guevara and Patrice Lumumba. He had a knack for narrowly escaping death by firing squad. When I first began working as a reporter in Africa, the Polish reporter embodied the apotheosis of what being a foreign correspondent was all about. So when a respected editor once dismissed him as a fantasist, I was dumbstruck.

In his illuminating biography, Artur Domosławski has taken on the necessary and extraordinarily difficult task of distinguishing fact from fiction in the life of a man whose journalism is infused in equal measures with sublime insight and self-serving invention. The book will appeal most to anybody who has been transported

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