From Caesar To The Mafia / Edition 2

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Described by Melvin Lasky as "one of the great journalists of our time," Luigi Barzini was also one of the great cultural historians of modern Italy. From Caesar to the Mafia brings together his finest essays, roughly half of them never before published in the English language. Whether discussing the deep Italian roots of Julius Caesar, Casanova's contribution to the art of living big, or Camillo Cavour's contribution to a democratic as well as integrated nation, Barzini makes Italian culture come alive. Whether he is dealing with heroes or villains, he never loses sight of how Italy became a distinct nation.

From Caesar to the Mafia is not only about people, but also focuses on places and problems. When Barzini discusses the Sicilians, the Isle of Capri, or his birthplace of Milan, he has the distinct capacity to capture what is universal as well as what is intimate in each place. An innate sense of psychological profiling enriches these intimate sketches. Because Barzini had such a keen appreciation of Anglo-American culture he emphasizes people and places known to travelers to Italy, as well as readers of Italian literature. What makes the volume so special is Barzini's careful maneuvering between sentimentality on one side and brutality on the other.

Italy is not only a state of mind for Barzini, but also a political culture. By discussing the exaggerated mannerism of Mussolini or the unusual capacity of Gramsci to grasp the principles of revolution making in an underdeveloped country, he helps us better understand the operations of fascism and communism as system and ideology. The final essays give voice to Barzini's ability as a political analyst. His examination of the Italian Communist Party's multiple personality disorders, the Christian Democrats as working compromise, the Mafia as a system of power designed not so much to kill as to intimidate and to rule in the absence of popular resistance, tells the reader about modern, postwar Italy. This is a volume not just to be read, but to be savored.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765809087
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/1/2001
  • Edition description: 2ND
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 376
  • Sales rank: 747,795
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Luigi Barzini (1908-1984) was the author of an incomparable set of books on the United States, Europe, and Italy, including Americans are Alone in the World, and The Italians. He served as a foreign correspondent for Corriere della Sera, and later as a liberal deputy in the Italian Parliament. He was described by the late Cyril Connolly as "a philosopher and master of the English language." Michael A. Ledeen is the Freedom Scholar at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a contributing editor to National Review Online. He was an advisor to Secretary of State, Alexander Haig, and a consultant to the National Security Council and the Defense Department of the United States. His books include Accomplice to Evil and Freedom Betrayed.

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Table of Contents

Introduction to the Transaction Edition
I Persons
1 Julius Caesar 3
2 Casanova 30
3 Cavour, or the Foreigner as National Hero 38
4 Curzio Malaparte 48
5 The Sicilians 61
6 The Aristocrats 81
7 Gramsci, a Founding Father 115
8 A Glimpse of Mussolini 139
9 The Italian Mistress 144
II Places and Happenings
10 On the Isle of Capri 157
11 The Death of a Bandit 172
12 A King's Last Night 177
13 Milan, a Native's Return 188
14 The Quest for Lampedusa 201
15 A Personal Affair 222
III Problems
16 A Fine Italian Hand 239
17 Grand Hotel Montecitorio 252
18 It's Different in the South 259
19 The Communists, and the Locomotive of History 273
20 The Anatomy of Expertise 297
21 The Mafia 322
22 A House on the Via Cassia 336
23 Aristocratic Birth and Revolutionary Death (Feltrinelli) 345
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