In 1975, Angola was tumbling into pandemonium; everyone who could was packing crates, desperate to abandon the beleaguered colony. With his trademark bravura, Ryszard Kapuscinski went the other way, begging his was from Lisbon and comfort to Luandayes'>#8212;once famed as Africa's Rio de Janeiroyes'>#8212;and chaos.Angola, a slave colony later given over to mining and plantations, was a promised land for generations of poor Portuguese. It had belonged to Portugal since before there were Englishspeakers in North America. After the collapse of the fascist dictatorship in Portugal in 1974, Angola was brusquely cut loose, spurring the catastrophe of a stillongoing civil war. Kapuscinski plunged right into the middle of the drama, driving past thousands of haphazardly placed checkpoints, where using the wrong shibboleth was a matter of life and death; recording his imporessions of the young soldiersyes'>#8212;from Cuba, Angola, South Africa, Portugalyes'>#8212;fighting a nebulous war with global repercussions; and examining the peculiar brutality of a country surprised and divided by its newfound freedom.Translated from the Polish by William R. Brand and Katarzyna MroczkowskaBrand.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Records how the author set out on his first forays to India, China and Africa with the great Greek historian constantly in his pocket. The author sees Louis Armstrong in Khartoum, visits Dar-es-Salaam, arrives in Algiers in time for a coup when nothing seems to happen (but he sees the Mediterranean for the first time).
Ryszard Kapuscinski has been writing about the people of Africa throughout his career. In this study, he sets out to create an account of post-colonial Africa seen as both a whole and as a location, defying generalized explanations, and avoiding the official routes, palaces and big politics.