Wednesday, October 20, 2021

A man (Un uomo) - Oriana Fallaci

At the time of publishing this book was categorized as a novel. Well, it’s not: it is the real story of Aleksandros (Alekos) Panagulis, the Greek poet, revolutionary and politician who opposed the military junta that ruled the Hellenic country from 1967 to 1974. Oriana Fallaci - the famous Italian journalist and writer who was in a relationship with Panagulis since he was released from jail until his death in a controversial car accident - tells the story of a man who deserted from the military in the aftermath of the coup, refused to live abroad as an exile like most of the other opponents did, staged and carried out a failed assassination attempt on the junta leader, was captured and endured harsh psychological and physical tortures without ever bending to his interrogators’ requests, defended himself in court, was condemned to death and - after the sentence was revoked due to international pressure on the junta - was finally jailed in a solitary cell for five years, until his liberation as a result of a national amnesty. The book also recounts the author’s romantic relationship with Panagulis and tries to sketch a portrait of the protagonist through his ideals, talents, idiosyncrasies, controversies, strengths and weaknesses. A man who thought that the end of the dictatorship didn’t necessarily mean the end of the regime, who tried to prove that the new ruling clique was just a civil counterpart of the military one. He did this all by himself, without the support of any of the parties or organisations involved in the transition, and for this - the author claims - he was finally assassinated.
If you don’t know much about that important piece of European history this book is definitely a good place to start.

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