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Jones, Tobias
The Dark Heart of Italy
BookID 40298949
ISBN 0865477248
(see LibraryThing.com card)
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Description (from Amazon)In 1999 Tobias Jones immigrated to Italy, expecting to discover the pastoral bliss described by centuries of foreign visitors. Instead, he found a very different country: one besieged by unfathomable terrorism and deep-seated paranoia. The Dark Heart of Italy is Jones's account of his four-year voyage across the Italian peninsula.

Jones writes not just about Italy's art, climate, and cuisine but also about the much livelier and stranger sides of the Bel Paese: the language, soccer, Catholicism, cinema, television, and terrorism. Why, he wonders, does the parliament need a ""slaughter commission""? Why do bombs still explode every time politics start getting serious? Why does everyone urge him to go home as soon as possible, saying that Italy is a ""brothel""? Most of all, why does one man, Silvio Berlusconi-in the words of a famous song-appear to own everything from Padre Nostro (Our Father) to Cosa Nostra (the Mafia)?

The Italy that emerges from Jones's travels is a country scarred by civil wars and ""illustrious corpses""; a country that is proudly visual rather than verbal, based on aesthetics rather than ethics; a country where crime is hardly ever followed by punishment; a place of incredible illusionism, where it is impossible to distinguish fantasy from reality and fact from fiction.
My review: 3.5/5If you are planning to live in Italy, no matter how long your stay, I strongly suggest this book to quickly get into the Italian mindset

But beware: you could get lost in the details- and this book is just a sampling of the mind-boggling history of intrigue

For a more historical perspective, up to the 1960s, see the reference to the ""History of the Italian people"" in my library :-) on social media
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