Jones, Tobias 1972-

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JONES, Tobias 1972-


Born 1972, in Somerset, England. Education: Graduated from Jesus College, Oxford (English and history).


Home—Parma, Italy. Agent—c/o Editorial Department, Faber and Faber Ltd., Three Queen Square, London WC1N 3AU, England.


London Review of Books, London, England, member of editorial department; Independent on Sunday, staff writer; freelance journalist, 1999—; Worked as a framer and seller of antiquarian maps at a book-shop in Bloomsbury, England.


The Dark Heart of Italy: Travels through Time and Space across Italy, Faber and Faber (London, England), published as The Dark Heart of Italy: An Incisive Portrait of Europe's Most Beautiful, Most Disconcerting Country, 2003, North Point Press (New York, NY), 2004.

Contributor of essays and articles to periodicals, including Wallpaper, Prospect, Vogue, the Guardian, and the Independent on Sunday.


English journalist Tobias Jones imigrated to Parma, Italy, in 1999 and came to love the country too much to leave. In The Dark Heart of Italy: Travels through Time and Space across Italy (published in the United States with the subtitle An Incisive Portrait of Europe's Most Beautiful, Most Disconcerting Country), Jones delves deeply into the neo-Fascist, conservative, and Mafia influence on Italy after World War II. Jones covers the massive government corruption scandal of the early 1990s and the succession to power of wealthy soccer club owner Silvio Berlusconi, the media mogul who became prime minister. Critics described Jones's treatment of the subject as evenhanded. John Foot, in the Manchester Guardian, stated, "Jones does not simply demonise [Berlusconi] but tries to understand him and why millions of Italians voted for him." On the other hand, Times Literary Supplement writer Martin Clark found that Jones "exaggerates the clash between Berlusconi's supporters and opponents."

In The Dark Heart of Italy, Jones writes about the terrible state of Italian television since Berlusconi, whom he refers to as the "'owner' of Italy," took control of the airwaves. He also writes about Italian football, the proliferation of illegal building, church history and scandals, subtle nuances of the language, and the Italian people's respect for the beautiful and the sensual. Jones also comments about a bureaucracy that results in every Italian spending an average of 7,000 minutes a year standing in lines. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted, "Jones must now be admitted to the company of writers … who seem to understand Italy and the Italians better than the natives do themselves."

Spectator reviewer Caroline Moorehead applauded Jones's description of a nation where "the prime minister feels himself to be above the law," and where "protesters are quickly dispersed with bullets." Library Journal reviewer Joseph S. Carlson concluded that The Dark Heart of Italy is a book that should be read by "anyone attempting to dig beneath the surface of what makes modern Italy run."



Contemporary Review, July, 2003, review of The Dark Heart of Italy: Travels through Time and Space across Italy, p. 63.

Economist, February 15, 2003, review of The Dark Heart of Italy.

Guardian (Manchester, England), January 11, 2003, John Foot, "Dress Properly and Don't Pay Taxes: John Foot Takes the Via Storia to Unravel the Alarming Mixture of Wealth, Corruption and Xenophobia that Italians Confront under Berlusconi's Rule," p. 12.

Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2004, review of The Dark Heart of Italy, p. 376.

Library Journal, April 15, 2004, Joseph S. Carlson, review of The Dark Heart of Italy, p. 112.

New Statesman, January 20, 2003, James Eve, "La Sporca Vita," p. 48.

Publishers Weekly, April 19, 2004, review of The Dark Heart of Italy, p. 48.

Spectator, January 25, 2003, Caroline Moorehead, "Bosoms, Football and Money," p. 49.

Times (London, England), January 11, 2003, "An Italian Job Well Done," p. 16.

Times Literary Supplement, February 14, 2003, Martin Clark, "Judge Not," p. 4.


University of Cambridge Web site, (May 28, 2004), Tobias Jones biography.*

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