Imperium by Ryszard Kapuscinski

Each of the brutal and repressive regimes that have ever existed have been brutal and repressive in their own uniquely interesting ways. The Soviet Union takes its place among these.

Journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski ( wandered across the Soviet Union from 1989 to 1991. His sharply observed travelogue illuminates the tragedy of 20th-century Soviet history and the positive forces struggling against demoralization, poverty, rising crime and a government/military/KGB bureaucracy entrenched amid the disintegration of ‘the last colonial empire on earth’.

Kapuscinski describes his return to Pinsk, his Polish hometown that is now part of Byelorussia, which Soviet troops invaded in 1939 when he was seven, killing or deporting almost the entire intelligentsia. With mordant irony and photographic vividness, Kapuscinski journeys from the streets of Moscow to Siberia and across the Central Asian republics, meeting people from all walks of life and pondering the difficulty of democratizing a crumbling empire created through centuries of conquest and annexation.

These dispatches from the borderline of Soviet catastrophe make for compelling reading at a time in early 2018 when Russia is sabre rattling like it hasn’t done for decades. Check if this on the history of The Soviet Union is in stock at your local library.

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