Terzani, Tiziano 1938-2004

views updated

TERZANI, Tiziano 1938-2004


See index for CA sketch: Born September 14, 1938, in Florence, Italy; died July 28, 2004, in Orsigna, Italy. Journalist and author. Terzani was an internationally respected journalist who was best known for chronicling the modernization of Asia as a correspondent for the German magazine Der Spiegel. Educated at the University of Pisa, where he received a Ph.D. in 1961, he spent much of the 1960s as a lawyer and businessman in Florence, Italy. His work as a journalist began in 1971 when he was hired by Der Spiegel as a correspondent in Singapore. He later spent years reporting in Hong Kong and Peking, sometimes contributing articles to Italian publications, such as Corriere della Sera and La Repubblica. During this time, Terzani wrote with a sense of loss over how Asia was embracing Western materialism at the cost of its culture and religion. He blamed both capitalist and communist ideologies for this change, earning fans for his sensitive portrayals of China, India, Vietnam, Japan, and other nations in the region. He wrote passionately about the tragedies of the Vietnam period in his books Giai Phong!: The Fall and Liberation of Saigon (1976) and Cambodian Holocaust (1981). Initially sympathetic toward China, he later became disillusioned by its oppressive government, criticizing its progress in a book that was later translated as Behind the Forbidden Door: Travels in China (1986). On the other hand, he also railed against American invasion of Afghanistan in his 2002 book, Letters against the War, which proved to be a bestseller in Europe. Another popular work by Terzani was the travelogue A Fortune-Teller Told Me: Earth-bound Travels in the East (1997). After learning that he had developed stomach cancer, Terzani completed one last, very personal book about his experience, Another Turn on the Carousel (2004). For his lifelong work, he was awarded Florence's highest honor, Il Fiorino d'Oro, two months after his death.



Independent (London, England), August 4, 2004, p. 34.

Los Angeles Times, August 13, 2004, p. B11.

New York Times, August 6, 2004, p. A21.

Times (London, England), August 4, 2004, p. 27.

Washington Post, August 4, 2004, p. B5.