Born in Pinsk, now in Belarus, in 1932, Kapuscinski was the pre-eminent writer among Polish reporters. After honing his skills on domestic stories, he traveled throughout the world and reported on several dozen wars, coups and revolutions in America, Asia, and especially in Africa, where he witnessed the liberation from colonialism. Kapuscinski's best-known book is a reportage-novel of the decline of Haile Selassie's anachronistic regime in Ethiopia - The Emperor, which has been translated into many languages. Shah of Shahs, about the last Shah of Iran, and Imperium, about the last days of the Soviet Union, have enjoyed similar success. He died in January 2007.Christopher de Bellaigue was born in London in 1971. He has spent the past decade writing for, among others, The Economist, the New York Review of Books, the New Yorker and Granta, in the Middle East and South Asia. His first book, In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs- a Memoir of Iran, was shortlisted for the 2005 Ondaatje Prize. He is currently writing a book on eastern Turkey. He lives in Tehran with his wife and son.
"A book of great economy and power...with vivid imagery, a breathless way of writing that carries the reader along, and a supreme sense of the absurd." --"New Republic" "Like Sir Richard Butron, Evelyn Waugh and Mungo Park, [Kapuscinski] makes literature out of journalism." --"Newsweek" "Insightful and important.... A readable, timely and valuable contribution to the understanding of the revolutionary forces at work in Iran.... The reader almost becomes a participant." --"The New York Times Book Review" "A supercharged particle of a book." --"Los Angeles Times"