Melograni, Piero 1930–

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Melograni, Piero 1930–


Born 1930, in Rome, Italy.


Home— Italy.


University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy, member of history faculty, 1971-1996. Member of Italian Parliament, 1990s. Founding member of the think tank Nova Res Publica.


Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, DC, fellowship, 1980.


Corriere Della Sera (1919-1943): [antologia], Cappelli (Bologna, Italy), 1965.

Storia Politica Della Grande Guerra, 1915-1918, Laterza (Bari, Italy), 1969.

Gli Industriali E Mussolini: Rapporti Tra Confindustria E Facsismo Dal 1919 Al 1929, Longanesi (Milan, Italy), 1972.

Saggio Sui Potenti, Laterza (Rome, Italy), 1977.

Rapporti Segreti Della Polizia Fascista, 1938-1940, Laterza (Rome, Italy), 1979.

Il Mito Della Rivoluzione Mondiale: Lenin Tra Ideologia E Ragion Di Stato, 1917-1920, Laterza (Rome, Italy), 1985, translation by Julie Lerro published as Lenin and the Myth of World Revolution: Ideology and Reasons of State, 1917-1920, Humanities Press International (Atlantic Highlands, NJ), 1989.

(With others)La Famiglia Italiana Dall'Ottocento a Oggi, Laterza (Rome, Italy), 1988.

Le Rivoluzioni Del Benessere, Laterza (Rome, Italy), 1988.

L'Italia Contemporanea, Edizioni scientifiche italiane (Naples, Italy), 1991.

Dieci Percheé Sulla Repubblica, Rizzoli (Milan, Italy), 1994.

La Modernità e i suoi nemici, A. Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 1996.

Il Principe, Biblioteca universale Rizzoli (Milan, Italy), 1999.

WAM: La Vita E Il Tempo Di Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Laterza (Rome, Italy), 2003, translation by Lydia G. Cochrane published as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: A Biography, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 2007.

4 Giugno 1944: La Liberazione Di Rome Nelle Immagini Degli Archivi Alleati, Skira (Rome, Italy), 2004.

Le Bugie Della Storia, Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 2006.

Toscanini: La Vita, Le Passioni, La Musica, Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 2007.

Also author of La Guerra degli Italiani, 1940-1945.


Piero Melograni has written widely on political subjects, in particular the history of the communist movement. A member of the Italian Communist Party until 1956, when he withdrew in disillusionment after the Soviet Union's brutal suppression of the Hungarian uprising, Melograni is best known for Il Mito Della Rivoluzione Mondiale: Lenin Tra Ideologia E Ragion Di Stato, 1917-1920, translated as Lenin and the Myth of World Revolution: Ideology and Reasons of State, 1917-1920. This book, according to Walter Kendall in a review published on the Marxist Internet Archive, is a "polemic" against the Italian Communist Party and argues that Valdimir Ilych Lenin, founder of the Bolshevik party in Russia, did not seek world revolution but promoted the idea of "Socialism in only one country." Kendall, arguing that the Bolsheviks acted in accordance with self-interests that sometimes required accommodation with European entities and at other times did not, found the book's thesis "unproven," but added that Melograni's evidence does show that "the Bolsheviks were continually running ‘revolutionary’ and ‘reformist’ policies at the same time." The critic added that Lenin and the Myth of World Revolution raises questions relevant to the situation of communism in the late 1980s, when the Soviet Union was on the brink of collapse. Explaining that communist theory considers world revolution a necessary event stemming from objective economic factors, Kendall showed that—contrary to communist theory—these economic factors have not occurred. Citing data from the 1980s that indicate robust production in capitalist economies and stagnant production in socialist ones, Kendall concluded that "surely all the expectations of ‘inevitable’ revolution … simply fly straight out of the window."

Melograni has also written biographies of musicians Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Arturo Toscanini. WAM: La Vita E Il Tempo Di Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, translated as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: A Biography, received many positive reviews. Instead of exploring Mozart's music in detail, Melograni takes an economic view, showing how the circumstances under which Mozart wrote shaped his work. The composer, who lacked the sure support of a patron, was forced to take advantage of the consumer market to make a living. He organized paid concerts and obtained contracts for compositions—circumstances that, according to Melograni, pushed him to express his musical genius in ways that would not prove too alienating to his audience. Todd B. Sollis, writing in the Opera News, observed that "Melograni demonstrates persuasively how this new [consumer market] furnishes the composer with new stimuli, assures him greater liberty, and opens the way to modernity in ways the enable him to continue to occupy center state on the musical scene" in the twenty-first century. New York Times Book Review contributor Mick Sussman, on the other hand, found Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart "too limited to become essential reading" on the composer, but added that its story of Mozart's "slow emergence from the suffocating embrace of his father" is dramatic and absorbing.

On the New York Sun Web site, Benjamin Ivry took issue with the biography's reinterpretation of Mozart's career as following "the trajectory of a Berlusconian hero." The critic did not find Melograni's characterization of Mozart convincing, pointing out, for example, that the description of the composer as a political moderate contradicts "generations of music historians who point to the social revolutionary themes" in both The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni. Ivry also expressed skepticism regarding Melograni's view that Mozart's poverty allowed the composer to become more creative by taking advantage of the free market opportunities in Vienna's music culture. By contrast, Paul Shoemaker, a contributor to Music Web, hailed Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as a "beautifully written" book, adding that it presents a huge amount of information "so felicitously that you read through the book rapidly … but end up learning more than you usually would in reading several books." Writing in Library Journal, Larry Lipkis praised the book as a "valuable contribution" to the many books on Mozart published to commemorate the 250th anniversary of his birth.



American Historical Review, December, 1986, Charles F. Delzell, review of Il Mito Della Rivoluzione Mondiale: Lenin Tra Ideologia E Ragion Di Stato, 1917-1920, p. 1245.

International History Review, February, 1991, review of Lenin and the Myth of World Revolution: Ideology and Reasons of State, 1917-1920, p. 184.

Library Journal, September 15, 2006, Larry Lipkis, review of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: A Biography, p. 62.

London Review of Books, July 5, 2007, "Obscene Child," p. 33.

New York Times Book Review, December 24, 2006, Mick Sussman, review of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Opera, March, 2007, Julian Budden, review of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, p. 362.

Opera News, December 2006, Todd B. Sollis, review of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, p. 83.

Reference & Research Book News, December, 1989, review of Lenin and the Myth of World Revolution, p. 18.

Russian Review, January, 1991, Richard K. Debo, review of Lenin and the Myth of World Revolution, p. 105.

Slavic Review, summer, 1991, Thomas Fiddick, review of Lenin and the Myth of World Revolution.


Marxist Internet Archive, (October 22, 2007), Walter Kendall, review of Lenin and the Myth of World Revolution.

Music Web, (October 22, 2007), Paul Shoemaker, review of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

New York Sun, (October 22, 2007), Benjamin Ivry, "A Free-Market Mozart."

Piero Melograni Home page, (October 22, 2007).