Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Staff Pick: Shah of Shahs

Book Cover

Shah of Shahs by Ryszard Kapuściński

Published in 1985, this book is a pithy, revelatory reconstruction of the Iranian Revolution of 1979 by an eyewitness. The book, which the original New York Times book review called “insightful and important” is remarkable as both an historical document and allegory for revolution anywhere, but is especially gripping because of the insight it offers into the Iran of today.

Ryszard Kapuściński’s (Rish-ard Kap-ush-chin-ski) writing can be a marvel of selection and condensation. Anything non-essential is seemingly left out, but his prose hardly becomes dry or journalistic. If anything, the brevity of the writing adds to its odd lyricism. Shah of Shahs, like many of Kapuściński’s other books, reads more like a novel than a work of nonfiction. Lasting only 152 pages, it is a short novel at that.

Kapuściński was a Polish journalist. Over the course of his career reporting from Asia, Africa, and Latin America he was jailed forty times, witnessed twenty-seven coups or revolutions, and survived four death sentences. Though sometimes criticized for straying from the strictly factual, his books are widely praised and have been translated into thirty languages. The Emperor: Downfall of an Autocrat and The Soccer War are also highly recommended.

Jacob - Adult Services


Nate P. said...

Shah of Shahs sounds really interesting. Just put in a request for it.

RE: the lists posted below ("If you like Janet Evanovich..." and "Back to School") are they created/assembled by LPL staff, or do you get them from a service and then attach a link for your holdings? Regardless, they're very well done.

Keep up the good work, LPL.

Jacob said...


Thank you for the compliment. I hope you enjoy the book.

The Evanovich and "Back to School" posts were both created by library staff. Everything on the blog is original except for the descriptions on our weekly list of most requested materials and many of the lists found in the "Links" category of the blog--both are supplied by a service called BookLetters.

Thanks again!