The Italian Communist Party was once one of the most powerful and vibrant parties of the West. In this detailed and probing work, Lucio Magri, one of the towering intellectual figures of the Italian left, assesses the causes for its demise. The PCI survived almost a century of Italian history, from its founding in 1921 to the partisan resistance, the turning point of Salerno in 1944 to the de-Stalinization of 1956, the long ’68 to the “historic compromise,” and to the opportunity—missed forever—of democratic transformation.
With rigor and passion, The Tailor of Ulm merges an original and enlightening interpretation of Italian communism with the experience of a militant “heretic” into a riveting read—capable of broadening our insights into contemporary Italy and the twentieth-century communist experience.
“How should the Left think about the Communist experience today? A founding theorist of Il manifesto reflects on the need for critical examination of the past-and the lessons to be drawn for the future from the Italian Communist Party's trajectory.”
“The decline and fall [of Italian Communism] is the subject of Magri’s extremely shrewd and despondent book … the final cry of someone whose life belongs to a world that has gone for ever.”
“This beautifully written and meticulously researched volume should be of interest to scholars of communism, the European Left, Italy, and the Cold War. Recommended.”