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This account of the rise and fall of Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie is “an unforgettable, fiercely comic, and finally compassionate book” (Salman Rushdie, Man Booker Prize–winning author).
After Haile Selassie was deposed in 1974, Ryszard Kapuściński—Poland’s top foreign correspondent—went to Ethiopia to piece together a firsthand account of how the emperor governed his country, and why he finally fell from power. At great risk to himself, Kapuściński interviewed members of the imperial circle who had gone into hiding.
The result is this remarkable book, in which Selassie’s servants and closest associates share accounts—humorous, frightening, sad, grotesque—of a man living amidst nearly unimaginable pomp and luxury while his people teetered between hunger and starvation. It is a classic portrait of authoritarianism, and a fascinating story of a forty-four-year reign that ended with a coup d’état in 1974.