Giorgio de Santillana, The Crime of Galileo (1955), 357p.
The Crime of Galileo @books.google.com
The book is a popular scientific analysis of the process of the trial against Galileo. It brings forth a balanced insight in the dynamics within the Inquisition between 1616 and 1635, but still is slightly dissatisfying for the lack of strict order and in-depth details. Worth a read though! A great introduction in the theme.
Eugenio Corti, The Red Horse (1983), 1015p.
The Red Horse is an epic novel that follows a family of industrials, the Riva family, in Nomana starting from the end of May 1940 through World War II and the new democratic Italy.
The book is divided in three parts:
The Red Horse,
The Pale Horse, and
The Tree of Life.
The book is a metaphore of the genesis of the new democratic Italy that arose out of the ashes of the chaos of pre-fascist, fascist and war-torn Italy. The new Italy is governed by division and loss of conservative Christian values and the question is posed by Michele Tintori if the chaos is a result of this loss.
Corti writes his novel with a simple world view: his experiences in Russia have convinced him that communism is hell on earth, and even greater threat to the Christian order than fascism had been. The only path out of the inhumanity of the war and post-war chaos is the Christian-Democratic order. The pillars of this Christian-Democratic order are the conservative church of Rome and the industrialist elite. The communist, socialist and liberal forces do not see the threat of their progressive ideas because they are ignorant about the evils of anti-Christian, i.e. communist, powers.The Red Horse is a fabulous and epic story about the genesis of the new Italy, but it is dominated by this simple monolithic analysis of political and social opinions in its time. Continue reading →
Guiseppe Garibaldi, My Life (1872) 160p.
Garibaldi is one of a fistful of men who not only lived in the Romantic era, but who lived and made the Romantic era by their deeds. His life he devoted to the cause of freedom of the people, and his memoires read like an adventure book. I always doubt that these heroic characters were very likable characters in their lifetime, they are boasters, who never hesitate to impose their capricious personalities on the world, and they own the evident right to appropriate the world in their own name. But the lives and courage of these men are to be admired, if not as ideal examples of reality than as romanticized ideals to keep in our mind as guides. For such men romanticized themselves consciously or unconsciously, and Garibaldi does not stop to emphasize the corrupt characters of all of his adversaries, the valor of his followers, and only downplays his own role by continuing to tell of the misfortunes and inferioror weapons and means within their possession. But the Risorgimento is one of the most fascinating periods in Italian modern history, as a passing between the old order toward the new, and perhaps even casting a shadow of contemporary events in Italian politics and culture.
Peter Watson, Cecelia Todeschini, The Medici Conspiracy, The Illicit Journey of Looted Antiquities– from Italy’s Tomb Raiders to the World’s Greatest Museums (2006) 334p.
The Medici Conspiracy recounts the ecents that led the Italian Carabinieri Art Squad, headed by Roberto Conforti, to bring down the largest criminal organization purely and solely dealing in illegal antiquities, the cordata. The downfall of the cordata started with the death of Pasquale Camera, a local ‘captain’ in the cordata, when his car turned over on his way to Rome. In the glove compartment they found about fifty pictures of antiquities from illegal digs. In following raids on his homes and affiliated raids, Conforti discovered a complete organigram of the cordata. The years of investigation proved to establish the existence of the cordata as decribed in this organigram, but also showed the shocking involvement of leading musea and collectors of antiquities, and the unimaginable scale of looting that existed running into the hundreds of millions of dollars worth.
The main suspects in the looting of antiquities are dealers as Robert Hecht, Giacomo Medici, Gianfranco Becchina, Robin Symes, leading musea as the J. Paul Getty Museum, with the active involvement of curator Marion True, and the Metropolitan Museum, and its curator Dietrich von Bothmer, and auction houses as Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Bonhams. More than 80% of the antiquities sold at auction houses has no provenance. The Medici Conspiracy explains in high overview the triangulation schema’s that dealers, musea, auction houses, and tombaroli, the looters, have developed to launder the illegal trade and destruction of archaeological sites. Continue reading →