| REVIEWS OF CARLO ROSSELLI
CARLO ROSSELLI: Socialist Heretic and Antifascist Exile
Stanislao G. Pugliese
Winner of the 2000 Premio Internazionale Ignazio Silone
Carlo Rosselli (1899-1937) was one of the most charismatic and influential of European antifascist intellectuals. Born into a wealthy Jewish family, and abandoning a promising career as a professor of political economics, he devoted his considerable fortune and ultimately his life to the struggle against fascism. In 1925, he was instrumental in establishing the first underground antifascist newspaper. While imprisoned for his subversive political activities, he wrote his magnum opus, Liberal Socialism, arguing that socialism was the logical development of the principle of liberty. After a daring escape, he made his way to Paris and became the driving force behind a new political movement, "Justice and Liberty." Rosselli was among the first to arrive in Barcelona after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, in which he commanded an armed column of volunteers in defense of the Republic. When Italian fascists discovered Rosselli's plot to assassinate Mussolini, they declared him the regime's most dangerous enemy and had him murdered, along with his brother, noted historian Nello Rosselli, on a country road in Normandy.
In this work, the first biography of Rosselli in English, Stanislao Pugliese skillfully interweaves the strands of heresy, exile, and tragedy in Rosselli's life. The drama and drive of his narrative enhance the scholarly contribution that this work makes to modern Italian history and to the study of European anti-fascism.
Stanislao G. Pugliese
is Associate Professor of Modern European History at Hofstra University
Press ISBN 0-674-00053-6 $35.00
"Thank you for
your book which I found interesting to read. I particularly appreciate
the sober style with which you have traced Carlo Rosselli's noble political
and human portrait, underlining his extreme refusal to bend to the ideological
premises of a regime, and his rejection of its moral and intellectual
important book . . . doesn't surrender to the seductions of the time and
the falsifications that followed."
of the most courageous and interesting figures of Italian anti-fascism--is
a rich and overdue subject for a biography . . . Pugliese . . . has done
a commendable job of explaining Rosselli's maverick position within European
to be reminded that real heroes once existed, that they once gave up their
lives for great causes . . . a welcome addition to our biographical literature
. . . [Rosselli's] major theoretical work, Liberal Socialism, grappled
with a complex, perhaps impossible task--to unite the best aspects of
socialism and liberalism into a coherent whole."
"A fine intellectual
biography . . . Pugliese's crisp prose delves evenhandedly into every
side of Rosselli's life and thought . . . available to a general readership
while also displaying the utmost academic vigor."
the very portrait of the engaged intellectual . . . and his life resembles
numerous skills will probably be what strike most readers initially. The
most evident of these skills is his capacity for detailed and extensive
research . . . [which leads to ] a richness of ironic detail . . .Pugliese's
attentive scholarship also illuminates, word by word, Rosselli's masterful
use of persuasive language . . . There is also a generously visionary
quality to Pugliese's directives for future scholarship."
"A clearly written
account of the life and times of a non-doctrinaire socialist thinker and
antifascist hero . . . through a doctrinal miasma of Marxist orthodoxy,
revisionism, and heresy, Pugliese steers with a sure hand and with a lucidity
that the subject matter, so vexed and acrimonious, fails to confound.
This is, indeed, a scholarly book, but one that is perfectly accessible
to the general public, even to someone who has only the sketchiest knowledge
of what went on in Italy at the time. The book is a wonderful exception
to the usual academic work, where obfuscating language reigns through
incompetence or, as it so often appears, through design."
intellectual biography . . . sterling quality . . . superlative on many
levels . . . an essential read for all those with an interest in the Italian
left and antifascist movements, and admirably fills a gap in the literature
in English on Rosselli . . . .the serious reader will welcome this book's
no-nonsense tone and clearheaded prose . . . sure to become the definitive
English-language text on Rosselli's thought."
"A life of compulsive
self-sacrifice . . . a remarkable son of a family of iconoclasts . . .
the issues are dramatically delineated."
into complex political, social, and cultural problems that [Rosselli's]
life illuminates . . . the book's importance lies . . . in the way it
highlights the great socio-historical and moral questions to which Rosselli
consecrated his life."
"A solidly researched,
well-written and sympathetic study of a major figure in the anti-Fascist
contribution to debates in Italian political and intellectual history
. . . .a well-written, comprehensive account of one of the most interesting
figures of twentieth-century Italy. It will shed light on an important
period in Italian political history and give the reader an understanding
of some of the recent debates within the Italian left."
"One of the
key chapters in Pugliese is his excellent treatment of liberal socialism
and why Rosselli was accused of heresy . . . Pugliese's biography, based
on the extensive correspondence of the Rosselli family, archival sources
and memoirs, provides the fullest account in English of a remarkable man.
His strengths and weaknesses are ably assessed."
"By the time
of his assassination in 1937, Rosselli had already set the foundations
for new ways of imagining modern liberal democracies."
biography of the prominent Italian antifascist intellectual, writer, and
activist who was stabbed to death by political assassins in 1937 . . .
Pugliese brings to this admiring portrait a formidable variety of tools,
including a thorough knowledge of Italian history, language, literature,
and landscape . . . [Pugliese's] research is impeccable."
an excellent job of showing how Rosselli took his responsibility of a
"Highly informative and engrossing. The author is moved by an unconcealed passion for his subject and sympathy for Rosselli himself, but these feelings never interfere with the objectivity of his rigorous intellectual analysis. The result is an intellectually invigorating work that deftly weaves an analysis of Rosselli's ideas into a chronological structure . . . first-class work." ----Society for Italian Historical Studies
told exploration of the issues of totalitarianism and the modern state."
biography accompanies us in a fascinating and dramatic story . . . Pugliese's
account guides the reader through the circumstances of Italian political
culture that constitute the background of Rosselli's life with a broad
knowledge and a pleasant prose: there is no aspect of relevant Italian
history in his biography of Carlo Rosselli that is not explained and discussed
with precision and timely information."
monograph . . . Rosselli symbolizes an endless search for a space where
politics gets rid of ideology and where freedom becomes a general human
to educate as well as analyze and the book becomes accessible to anyone
interested in early 20th century Italy . . . Pugliese speaks to the relevance
of [Marx's] thought to today's world, enabling Rosselli's story to transcend
the animation of a good detective story and yet is strong as scholarship.
Rosselli's life, here presented in a vivid, spirited, and highly accessible
narrative, makes for captivating reading, and his political activity is
clearly and accurately described."
carefully researched and objective book is a fine contribution to our
is excellent scholarship on an important subject, handled with discerning
well-researched and up to the best standards of scholarship . . . a fine
intellectual history . . . dealing with a dramatic time and a leading
character who was not only important, but a romantic idealist . . deserves
much attention--especially in our time when romantic idealism has been
swept away from the scene by cynical pseudo-realism."
chapter in twentieth-century Italian and European history . . . a compelling
individual saga . . . Rosselli offered the most positive synthesis of
socialism and liberalism of anyone in the era . . . seems all the more
modern against the background of present-day socialism."
contribution to historical scholarship . . . a distinguished historical
and literary effort. The reasoning is sound, the style appealing, the
story compelling. There are battles that are to be fought in spite of
predictable defeat. And Carlo Rosselli undertook such a struggle of ideals
with uncommon valor. He was a tragic and heroic figure."
is of great importance in establishing in the English-speaking world the
considerable contribution made by Rosselli during the period between the
wars--a contribution with important consequences for post-war Italian
and well-researched book . . . will prove of interest not only to students
of Italian history, Fascism, and Socialism, but to those interested in
the intellectual debate on the left and right during the first three decades
of the twentieth century."
"La prima biografia
di Rosselli in inglese . . . Il saggio è serio e minuzioso . .
. l'itinerario di Rosselli emerge con eloquenza."
italo-americano, Stanislao Pugliese, professore di storia alla Hofstra
University (Hempstead, NY) ha scritto una biografia intellettuale . .
. che si propone di mettere in luce sopratutto il pensiero politico di
Rosselli . . . Il saggio di Pugliese . . . aiuta proprio a rimediare sul