Benevolence and Betrayal: Five Italian Jewish Families Under Fascism / Edition 1

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Overview

A profoundly moving history of Italy’s Jews under the shadow of the Holocaust, told through the lives of five Jewish Italian families: the Ovazzas of Turin, who prospered under Mussolini and whose patriarch became a prominent fascist; the Foas of Turin, whose children included both an antifascist activist and a Fascist Party member; the Di Verolis of Rome, who struggled for survival in the ghetto; the Teglios of Genoa, one of whom worked with the Catholic church to save hundreds of Jews; and the Schonheits of Ferrara, who were sent to Buchenwald and Ravensbruck. An extraordinary montage that resurrects a forgotten and tragic era.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“An achievement that deserves to stand next to the most insightful fiction about life and death under fascism.” —The New York Times

“Alexander Stille’s stunning achievement in Benevolence and Betrayal—the result of meticulous research and comprehensive understanding—is to give faces and personalities to people who might otherwise have been consigned to anonymity.” —The New York Times Book Review

“A beautifully written and moving book which I am sure will in time come to rank with the works of Primo Levi.” —Times Literary Supplement (UK)

Benevolence and Betrayal, like all first-rate journalism, reshapes dusty history in the form of life—messy, tentative, poignant, and unforgettable.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer

“These stories are filled with courage and tragedy, spies and counterspies, escape and destruction. They are true, spellbinding, and sometimes almost unbelievable.” —Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Library Journal
The complex experience of Italy's Jews under fascism is personified in the experiences of five families whose socioeconomic and geographic background and response to fascism varied, but who all were overtaken by the tragedy of the Italian holocaust. From fervent belief in fascism, through courageous resistance to the horrors of Buchenwald and back, the story is told in the words of the families themselves, interwoven with the author's clear and dispassionate historical narrative. This book is thoroughly researched and documented, but it is the distinctive and surprisingly calm voices of the families that provide a harrowing and deeply moving oral history. A worthy companion to such classics of the Italian holocaust as Giorgio Bassani's The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (HBJ, 1983) and Primo Levi's The Periodic Table ( LJ 1/85), this should be in all libraries with collections in European history or Jewish studies. For another book about Italian fascism, see Victoria de Grazia's How Fascism Ruled Women: Italy 1922-1945, reviewed in this issue, p. 93.--Ed.-- Barbara Walden, Univ. of Minnesota Libs., Minneapolis
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312421533
  • Publisher: Picador
  • Publication date: 4/1/2003
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.47 (w) x 8.29 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author

Alexander Stille is the author of Excellent Cadavers: The Mafia and the Death of the First Italian Republic and Benevolence and Betrayal: Five Italian Jewish Families Under Fascism. He is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker and lives in New York City.

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