Jibes fly over biography of Poland's Kapuscinski

Mon Mar 1, 2010 12:03pm EST
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By Gabriela Baczynska

WARSAW (Reuters Life!) - A court injunction and a heated public debate have heralded the upcoming release of a new biography about the late Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski.

Kapuscinski, who died in 2007 at the age of 74, covered the globe's poorest and most dangerous places as a correspondent for Poland's PAP state news agency from 1959 to 1981 and his subsequent books have been translated into 30 languages.

"Kapuscinski Non-fiction" by Artur Domoslawski has been the focus of a legal injunction by Kapuscinski's widow, earned the ire of a government minister and the enmity of an Archbishop in the powerful Roman Catholic Church for daring to trifle with the reputation of an author who is lionized in Poland.

Kapuscinski won international recognition for his reports on Africa's emergence from colonialism and his coverage of its subsequent descent into turmoil and war.

He wrote a number of books that have been widely hailed around the world such as "The Emperor," which focused on the downfall of Ethiopia's Haile Selassie; "Shah of Shahs" describing the overthrow of the Iran's Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, "Imperium" on the break-up of the Soviet Union and "The Soccer War," a set of dispatches from the developing world.

Domoslawski's book delves into Kapuscinski's personal relationships, accuses him of collaborating with Poland's communist government and of making factual errors.

A government minister and a survivor of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp, Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, condemned Domoslawski, saying his book had violated journalistic ethics by applying a tabloid approach to Kapuscinski's private life.

"There are also publishing houses to present a ranking of brothels (...), but I don't think I'd like to publish my book in such a place," Bartoszewski said referring to Kapuscinski's affairs described in the book, to be released on Wednesday.   Continued...