Explorer's Widow Fails To Ban Book

A controversial biography of the late writer and explorer Ryszard Kapuscinski is to go on sale on March 1st.

Kapuscinski's widow had tried to block the book's publication - for reasons that are only now beginning to come clear. One publishing house had already dropped out of a deal to print, at the request of Mrs Kapuscinska, but a rival firm was quick to step in.

A last attempt to quash the book was rejected by a Warsaw court on 23rd February. Mrs Kapuscinska had claimed that the biographer, journalist Artur Domoslawski, had written falsehoods, and that the book would unfairly ruin the name of her celebrated husband.

Ryszard Kapuscinski became the first foreign correspondent for the Polish Press Agency in 1964. His subsequent books about political turmoil in Africa, such as The Soccer War and Shah of Shahs, became the toast of literary circles in Poland and beyond. Of Poland's 20th century scribes, only Solaris author Stanislaw Lem has been more widely translated.

It was originally suggested that the controversy related to collaboration with the communist intelligence services. Following his death in 2007, Poland's Institute of National Remembrance declared that Kapuscinski had been on the pay roll of the secret police. However, it has since emerged that there were other aspects of the book that had sparked the ire of the explorers' widow. Allegations of marital infidelity have surfaced, as well as claims that Kapuscinski used dubious sources for some of his books.

Mrs. Kapuscinska said she is appealing the decision, but it seems highly improbable that the book will not reach stores this Monday.


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