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Kapuscinski, Ryszard (Translated by William R. Brand and Katarzyna Mroczkowska-Brand). SHAH OF SHAHS. New York City, NY: Harcourt Brace, 1982. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 152 pages. Fine/Fine.

The author's second book to be translated into English. One of the greatest journalistic accounts of the 20th century. The first appearance of the title in English and in the United States. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a small and limited first print run as a hardcover original only. The First Edition is now rare. Presents Ryszard Kapuscinski's "Shah of Shahs" in a felicitous English translation. A masterpiece of reportage and analytical writing at the same time. The best account ever written on the fall of the Shah of Iran in 1980, it shows that every ideology is a necessary distortion of the truth. Every ideologue, whether conservative or liberal, Right or Left, knows that the real enemy is not the opposing side, which is vulnerable, but the truth. Thus, although the title does not even suggest it, his book is also inescapably about the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, which toppled the Shah through highly effective mass propaganda, and remains in total control to this day. Kapuscinski is not a journalist in the American or British sense. He writes what his admirers have described as literary journalism, which is not to be confused with the American New Journalism (of writers like Tom Wolfe) because even though his aims are somewhat similar, his methods - and rigorously dialectical worldview - are vastly different. Like a Classical poet, he deploys his remarkable storytelling skills, linguistic mastery, and profound insight to describe the rise, decline, and collapse of authoritarian regimes around the world - only to be replaced in the case of both Ethiopia ("The Emperor") and Iran by even more ruthless, totalitarian dictatorships. The Shah was terrible. The Ayatollahs turned out to be much worse. Prompting comparisons with the works of a Modernist Master like Kafka, Kapuscinski's literary journalism is uniquely mesmerizing and unforgettable in that none of his accounts has an ending in the conventional sense: His narratives simply end, inconclusively and abruptly, on an unresolved, often jarring note. Which is something that writers of TIME Magazine or The New York Times would never do, neatly wrapping things up instead for the sake of an (artificially) satisfying story. An absolute "must-have" title for Ryszard Kapuscinski collectors. This title is a great book. This is one of very few copies of the First American Edition/First Printing still available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a pristine beauty. Please note: Copies available online have serious flaws or are in multiple subsequent printings, particularly those that are listed as "New", thirty-five years (as of 2017) after the book's initial publication. A rare copy thus. One of the greatest journalist-writers of the 20th century. A fine collectible copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER RYSZARD KAPUSCINSKI TITLES IN OUR CATALOG). ISBN 015181483X. $150.00

This item is available for purchase. This web page was most recently updated on October 16, 2019.