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The Soccer War (1978)

by Ryszard Kapuściński

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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7431031,023 (4)19
The author chronicles his experiences as a foreign correspondent in Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East between 1958 and 1980.

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» See also 19 mentions

English (9)  French (1)  All languages (10)
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Diría lee este libro (my review) ( )
  BlueHairedMother | Feb 5, 2023 |
Ryszard Kapuściński az a fajta száguldó riporter volt, akinek elég, ha kimondtad a nevét, és a világ diktátorainak fele lucskosra izzadta rémületében az Armani öltönyét. (A másik fele meg azt hitte, tüsszentettél.) Nem akad nála jobb ismerője annak, amit a szakirodalom „alacsony intenzitású háborúnak” nevez – testközelből látott annyit belőlük, hogy még. Ez a háború jellemzően a világ túlsó felén szokott zajlani, olyan részvevők között, akiknek még a nevét se tudjuk megjegyezni. Nem milliós hadseregek feszülnek benne egymásnak, hanem gyakran csak pár tucat fős irreguláris egységek, akik egy európai aggyal megfejthetetlen ideológiai, vallási vagy törzsi nézeteltérés, esetleg egy csontszáraz, érdektelen bozótos miatt kaszabolják halomra egymást. Aki erre megvonja a vállát, annak kijelentem: aki egy ilyen háborúban hal meg, az éppúgy meg lesz halva, mint a „normális” háborúk áldozatai, sőt, ami azt illeti, az Isten háta mögött zajló konfliktusokban a felek hajlamosak még gátlástalanabbul kiélni brutalitásukat. Kapuściński pedig pont oda, Afrika, Ázsia és Dél-Amerika láthatatlanabb felébe utazik el, hogy láttassa velünk, amit még nem láttunk.

Riportregény tehát, de olyan riportregény, ami tisztában van saját korlátaival: folyton emlékezteti magát, hogy nem tud mindent elmondani, amit kéne. (Alkalmasint ez a lehető legtisztességesebb eljárás.) És egyben kalandregény is, mert sokat lőnek, menekülnek és hasalnak benne. De a legszebb, hogy mindemellett egy káprázatos tudással megírt szépirodalmi szöveg is – nagyjából ezért tudom ajánlani köbö mindenkinek, akit kicsit is érdekel a világ rajta kívül eső fele. És remélem, mi ilyenek vagyunk. ( )
  Kuszma | Jul 2, 2022 |
Great Prose But Unclear Lines Between Fact and Fiction

Not having read Ryszard Kapuściński before, I picked this book up because I was interested in learning more about "The Soccer War" after I heard a BBC podcast about it. Knowing the book only had a single article about the Soccer War, I decided to read it anyway because the other topics seemed interesting.

While other reviewers have said that about half the book deals with Africa, I think it is more like three-fourths of the book. Some of tales about about Kapuściński's bravery and nerve are a little egotistical (although I don't doubt they happened). He seems to enjoy talking about his hardships in an Ernest Hemmingway-like prose. The essays about Ben Bella in Algeria are fascinating. They offer a lot of assumptions that ring true, even though the essays are somewhat scant on details.

After reading "The Soccer War," I read that Kapuściński is something of a folk-hero among the literati, even though his critics say he mixes fiction with fact. Many of his stories do not seem true, such as his description of driving alone between two sides of a civil war, getting doused in benzyne and then let free after someone at a checkpoint laughs maniacally, ramming through the next checkpoint in his Peugeot, and then being sprayed with bullets and having Molotov cocktails hurled at him.

I also do not like the way he refers to Africans as having one mentality, calling them collectively "the black," is in "the black believes..." I don't know if this was acceptable when he was writing in the '60s, but describing all Africans in that same breath is certainly bad sociology and bad journalism if it isn't outright racist.

Kapuściński's article about the titular war glosses over the real context of it, focusing instead on the soccer games between Honduras and El Salvador, rather than focusing on the socioeconomic causes. Kapuściński claims that he was caught in a bombing raid in Tegucigalpa, although there was only one recorded in the war and it was at the airport, not the civilian neighborhood Kapuściński described. When he arrives at the front, he is one of the only reporters to witness firefights because the others had "weak hearts." Amazingly, a Honduran soldier hands Kapuściński his rifle while the soldier collects boots from corpses. He also greatly exaggerates the number of combat deaths, claiming there were more than 6,000 Honduran deaths when there were really only 3,000 combined deaths according to the most "generous" estimates.

It is clear, as his biographers state, that Kapuściński fictionalizes a lot of the work in his books. Perhaps his dispatches were more factual. Still, Kapuściński's book is interesting. It's easy to read because he jumps quickly from one essay to the next. ( )
1 vote mvblair | Aug 9, 2020 |
Mixed with pathos and humor a vivid trip through some of the world's hot spots. ( )
  charlie68 | Jul 15, 2017 |
A collection of travel reportage from Africa and South America, including the titular war which legitimately did break out because of a football match. ( )
1 vote soylentgreen23 | Jul 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kapuściński, Ryszardprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brand, WilliamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dudko, BożenaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Patte, VéroniqueTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The author chronicles his experiences as a foreign correspondent in Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East between 1958 and 1980.

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