IN THE REVIEW

Godfathers and Sons

Sicilian Lives

by Danilo Dolci, translated by Justin Vitiello, with the collaboration of Madeline Polidoro
When a Sicilian speaks of going across the Strait of Messina, he may unguardedly say, “I’m going to Italy,” rather than “to the mainland” or “to the continent,” somewhat as Englishmen often think and speak of the lands across the Channel as “Europe.” Sicilians are offended, however, when an Italian …

Una Grande Calamità

Four Days of Naples

by Aubrey Menen

Naples '44

by Norman Lewis
Naples is a bewildering, irritating, bewitching, and deceptive city not only for foreigners (a term which, in Naples, includes all other Italians), but for most Neapolitans too. General Carlo Filangieri (1784-1867), prince of Satriano, duke of Taormina, could be used as an exemplary illustration of how the people themselves feel …

The Bad Tooth

The First Duce: D'Annunzio at Fiume

by Michael A. Ledeen
In 1919-1920 Gabriele d’Annunzio occupied the Adriatic port of Fiume—now the Yugoslav city Rijeka—for twenty months. It is easy and tempting now to dismiss this episode as meaningless buffoonery, a grotesque Italian operatic demonstration, a hysterical and almost bloodless heroic-comic show staged by a demented Art Nouveau poet, one more …

The Society of Friends

Mafioso: A History of the Mafia from Its Origins to the Present Day

by Gaia Servadio
It is a well-known fact that a Sicilian writer (or a writer about Sicily) finds relatively few difficulties gathering colorful, startling, and tragic material. He simply sits at his table in Palermo or Syracuse and records his own (or his Sicilian friends’) childhood memories, what he happened to hear, café …

The Not So Great Dictator

Mussolini: An Intimate Biography by His Widow

by Rachele Mussolini, as told to Albert Zarca
Perhaps the ruin of Benito Mussolini was Giuseppe Garibaldi, the legendary hero of the Risorgimento. Like Mussolini, Garibaldi was a rough, self-taught, and credulous man of the people; in his youth he had had utopian and confused revolutionary ideas, but, in the end, he rallied to the king and, perhaps …

Bad Dreams

D'Annunzio

by Philippe Jullian, translated by Stephen Hardman
In 1898 Benito Mussolini was a fifteen-year-old boy with a full head of hair. He lived in Forli, a small city of Romagna, a proverbially unruly region, where in every age political passions reached (and still reach) fever heat. A rebellious schoolboy, expelled from one school after another for threatening …