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Scirocco, Alfonso 1924–

Scirocco, Alfonso 1924–

PERSONAL:

Born 1924.

CAREER:

Writer, historian, and educator. University Frederick II, Naples, Italy, professor of humanities, 1966-2000.

WRITINGS:

I democratici Italiani da Sapri a Porta Pia, Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane (Naples, Italy), 1969.

I problemi dell'unificazione Italiana (1859-1865), Libreria Scientifica Editrice (Naples, Italy), 1970.

L'organizzazione dello Stato nel pensiero di Giuseppe Mazzini, (Naples, Italy), 1971.

I democratici Italiani da Villafranca alle elezioni del 1865, Libreria Scientifica (Naples, Italy), 1971.

Politica e amministrazione a Naples nella vita unitaria, Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane (Naples, Italy), 1972.

Democrazia e socialismo a Naples dopo l'unità (1860-1878), Libreria Scientifica Editrice (Naples, Italy), 1973.

Il Mezzogiorno nell'Italia Unita (1861-1865), Società Editrice Napoletana (Naples, Italy), 1979.

Il Mezzogiorno nella crisi dell'unificazione (1860-61), Società Editrice Napoletana (Naples, Italy), 1981.

L'Italia del Risorgimento, 1800-1860, Il Mulino (Bologna, Italy), 1990.

Briganti e società nell'Ottocento: il caso Calabria, Capone (Lecce, Italy), 1991.

In difesa del Risorgimento, Il Mulino (Bologna, Italy), 1998.

Garibaldi: battaglie, amori, ideali di un cittadino del mondo, Laterza (Rome, Italy), 2001, translation by Allan Cameron published as Garibaldi: Citizen of the World, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 2007.

Risorgimento, democrazia, Mezzogiorno d'Italia: studi in onore di Alfonso Scirocco, F. Angeli (Milan, Italy), 2003.

SIDELIGHTS:

Alfonso Scirocco, born in 1924, is an Italian scholar who served as a professor of humanities at the historic University Frederick II in Naples, Italy, from 1966 to 2000. He has written many books concerning Italian historical figures and politics, including I democratici Italiani da Sapri a Porta Pia, I problemi dell'unificazione Italiana (1859-1865), Il Mezzogiorno nell'Italia Unita (1861-1865), Il Mezzogiorno nella crisi dell'unificazione (1860-61), In difesa del Risorgimento, and Garibaldi: battaglie, amori, ideali di un cittadino del mondo, translated as Garibaldi: Citizen of the World.

Garibaldi, translated by Allan Cameron and published by Princeton University Press in 2007, is a biography of Giuseppe Garibaldi, who lived from approximately 1807 to 1882, and is remembered today for the pivotal role he played in the unification of Italy. Scirocco states in his introduction that "there was a flood of often romanticized and embellished biographies in Italian, English, French, German, and many other languages" which illustrates the variety of international source material available regarding Garibaldi and his "enormous popularity amongst his contemporaries." It also illustrates the many misleading and false stories that have been told about the legendary Italian hero. Gilbert Taylor in Booklist observed that Scirocco engages in "pruning the many exaggerations" attached to Garibaldi throughout the years. Taylor also commented that the text is "a fine biography for all drawn to Garibaldi's heroic role in Italy's Risorgimento." Scirocco details Garibaldi's travels and provides a coherent narrative and timeline for his many activities, including his early participation in an unsuccessful revolt with an Italian revolutionary group, his subsequent death sentence, and his departure from Italy to France. Scirocco also explains Garibaldi's movements during his exile, including his travels to North and South America, as well as throughout Europe, where he participated in various military campaigns. Garibaldi eventually returned to Italy during the time of the Risorgimento, or Italy's unification from several states into one nation, and aided the military efforts against the Austrian Empire resulting in the movement's success. Although a Kirkus Reviews contributor noted that Scirocco makes recurrent use of Garibaldi's autobiographical materials and that he "depicts many events with a hazy, cautious speculation since dates and activities remain unclear even in Garibaldi's own text," the critic acknowledged Scirocco's effort in "commingling relevant historical factoids with the extraordinary life of this unwavering ‘quintessential hero.’"

Philadelphia Inquirer book reviewer Carlin Romano claimed that "Scirocco narrates Garibaldi's life with appropriate respect, if not reverence" and that "after finishing Scirocco's account of Garibaldi's life, the great insurgent emerges as traditionally understood: enormously admirable, patriotic, nonmaterialistic, generous," and as "a charismatic leader who typically refused honors." Scirocco's introduction plainly states, "In the twenty-first century, following the collapse of the ideologies that dominated the history of the twentieth-century, we can show more understanding for the desire to maintain the mental independence of an idealist without ideologies." In other words, Scirocco intentionally represents Garibaldi as a historical figure that is inseparable from his individualistic beliefs, and he thus incorporates supporting materials that help create a description of Garibaldi's personality. Accordingly, Scirocco describes Garibaldi's "extraordinary selflessness, the firmness with which he rejected rewards and honors, the simplicity of his life … and his willingness to give his life." Allan Massie, in an article for the Spectator, described his impression of Garibaldi as "an anti-clerical who practiced Christian virtues, a nationalist who advocated a united Europe, a man engaged in war much of his life who despised militarism and believed in a common humanity." Massie further noted that, among other historical inclusions, Scirocco's depiction of this Italian hero makes for an "enthralling biography."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 15, 2007, Gilbert Taylor, review of Garibaldi: Citizen of the World, p. 20.

Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2007, review of Garibaldi.

Philadelphia Inquirer, Carlin Romano, October 7, 2007, "Two Views, One of Them Respectful, of Garibaldi."

Spectator, October 20, 2007, "A Legend in His Lifetime," p. 62.

Times Literary Supplement, December 7, 2007, "Serious Celebrity," p. 10.

ONLINE

PopMatters,http://www.popmatters.com/pm/ (October 12, 2007), Carlin Romano, review of Garibaldi.

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