In this much-lauded memoir, acclaimed for its blend of literary elegance and political passion, Rossana Rossanda, a legendary figure on the Italian left, reflects on a life of radical commitment.
Active as a communist militant in the Italian Resistance against fascism during World War Two, Rossanda rose rapidly in its aftermath, becoming editor of the Communist Party weekly paper and a member of parliament. Initially a party loyalist, she was critical of the party’s conservatism in the face of new radical movements and moved into opposition during the late 1960s. The breach widened after she and others publicly opposed the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, and were expelled in 1969. She went on to help found the influential paper il manifesto, which remains the most critical daily in Berlusconi’s Italy.
Her unique experience enables her to reconstruct that period with flair and authority. She paints a revealing picture of fascism, communism, post-war reconstruction and the revolts that shook Europe in the 1960s. In The Comrade from Milan, one of the most influential intellectuals of the European Left relives the storms of the twentieth century. Both cool-headed and precise, Rossanda provides a rare insight into what it once meant to be politically engaged.
“The Italian Communist leadership of the generation of 1943–45 is exceptional: it has been described with wonderful skill in Rossana Rossanda’s autobiography.”
“For nearly four decades, Rossanda has been Manifesto’s most individual editorialist and commentator ... a unique signature in the Italian press.”
“One of the most interesting works on the legacy of twentieth-century communism. For Rossanda, a partisan and communist to the last, the past was neither to be glorified nor taken as old hat—rather, it had to be understood in all its depth, with a view to the difficulty of real choices and the reasons for the paths not taken.”
“Rossanda’s autobiography is the best book of the year.”
“Honest and painful ... party, relationships, victories and, most of all, defeats compose a memorable fresco and a precious testimony.”
“A beautiful book, full of poetic pages, written in an elegant and evocative Italian reminiscent of Natalia Ginzburg.”