The Emperor: Downfall of an Autocrat by Ryszard Kapuściński

What a short and powerful book. It was incredible to hear the descriptions of the palace life of the Ethiopian Emperor. I had never heard this story before. Kapuściński turns these interviews into a very compelling narrative. His book is divided into three sections: The Throne, It’s Coming - It’s Coming, and Collapse. The Throne, details the intricate details of daily palace life. It’s Coming, It’s Coming is about the rebellion against the King. Finally, Collapse is about the end of the very long lasting Emperor Haile Selassie.

This is the kind of reportage though common right now, but must’ve been very novel at the time. After reading this book, it made me go straight to Wikipedia to read more about this absurd monarch. This book felt more Kafkaesque than the Kafka novel I just read. When reading this book I was reminded of another great oral history book - Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets by Svetlana Alexievich.

Rating: ★★★★★

Book #18 in my My 2020 Reading Challenge

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