[ download Textbooks ] The Dark Heart of ItalyAuthor Tobias Jones – Multi-channel.co

InTobias Jones Immigrated To Italy, Expecting To Discover The Pastoral Bliss Described By Centuries Of Foreign Visitors Instead, He Found A Very Different Country One Besieged By Unfathomable Terrorism And Deep Seated Paranoia The Dark Heart Of Italy Is Jones S Account Of His Four Year Voyage Across The Italian PeninsulaJones Writes Not Just About Italy S Art, Climate, And Cuisine But Also About The Much Livelier And Stranger Sides Of The Bel Paese The Language, Soccer, Catholicism, Cinema, Television, And Terrorism Why, He Wonders, Does The Parliament Need A Slaughter Commission Why Do Bombs Still Explode Every Time Politics Start Getting Serious Why Does Everyone Urge Him To Go Home As Soon As Possible, Saying That Italy Is A Brothel Most Of All, Why Does One Man, Silvio Berlusconi In The Words Of A Famous Song Appear To Own Everything From Padre Nostro Our Father To Cosa Nostra The Mafia The Italy That Emerges From Jones S Travels Is A Country Scarred By Civil Wars And Illustrious Corpses A Country That Is Proudly Visual Rather Than Verbal, Based On Aesthetics Rather Than Ethics A Country Where Crime Is Hardly Ever Followed By Punishment A Place Of Incredible Illusionism, Where It Is Impossible To Distinguish Fantasy From Reality And Fact From Fiction Chapters on sports, religion, politics, politics again and a half chapter on funeral customs dig beneath Italy s engaging culture While the book shows the Italy the tourist doesn t see, the title does not fully represent the book Tobias Jones also shows how much he loves and appreciates the beautiful country and the Italian people.The first chapter sets the mood Through Italian etymology Jones, demonstrates the mood and values of the country Throughout the book, Jones uses and translates colorful Italian idioms He ties it up in the end describing some words for which there is no English equivalent.The dark heart of Italy is its governance Jones shows the frustration of the ordinary citizen in dealing with a deeply rooted bureaucracy One of many examples is the author s own job search which was fruitless until a friend made a call and his pay which had many deductions and took 13 months to receive This compares to those with connections who can blithely use or ignore the system There are examples of complex financial crimes and abusivisma illegal construction The privileged can make appeals that can extend to a statute of limitations, a seek a legislative or bureaucratic legal decriminalization or just get their crimes ignored There is a colorful chapter showing how corruption extends to sports through policies that would never be tolerated in the US.The author ties these problems of a weak government to the country s extreme polarization Italy has a strong right wing with a revival of the Fascist Party and left wing with the largest Communist Party in Europe Here, Jones gives background with a mind numbing number of people, political parties and events There is a chapter devoted to Berlusconi The book, now 13 years old is prescient about Berlusconi s administrative accomplishments and staying power For ain depth look at the Berlusconi era The Sack of Rome How a Beautiful European Country with a Fabled History and a Storied Culture Was Taken Over by a Man Named Silvio Berlusconi.While it holds together as a book, it seems to be series of stand alone essays There is no note of this, but concepts like Clean Hands are defined as though they had not been previously discussed In Chapter 7, Jones refers to his girlfriend and 8 a flat mate whereas, in many previous chapters he writes of his wife Many chapters have large sections in italic print since these sections are not attributed, I am guessing this could be material inserted from different previously published pieces by Jones.The book is not comprehensive and probably wasn t meant to be The mafia in its various forms i.e Cammora, Ndangheta is not singled out, but is mentioned in the political and financial sections The low birth rate, which is curious for this family oriented Catholic country is not discussed Neither is the influx of immigrants.While book is over 13 years old, it is still informative The author s keen observations span decades and are presented in an entertaining, and at time humorous style. If you want to understand modern Italy, in all her shame and glory, this is as good as any place to start At first, while I enjoyed this book, I found it rather annoying Yes Italy and Italians are differentfrom Anglo SaxonsPop someone from one culture into another and of course, they will they think it is weird It is when Tobias Jones tries to get to the nitty gritty of why, for instance, Italian politics spawned Berlusconi, terrorism and has infamously fractious but has ultimately stultifying politics, that I become interested His main thesis is that Italy has an unfinished civil war that started in 1943 with the arrest of Mussolini Now that is an idea that you can run with Italy is different because of its history It is the sum of its past It is not just weird.In Jones favour, he does love various aspects of Italian culture He loves the food, craftsmanship, and communal solidarity And football Yes, the Italians play the beautiful game beautifully but cynically I would suggest reading the third or later editions because of the postscripts that are really realisations of further complexity He realises that the nepotism and corruption that infects Italian society is also a form of solidarity Most Italians went to the same school, in the same neighbourhood or village It is harder to puritanically denounce your old school mate that you see every day than you think Understandably forgiveness is givenfreely.I was reading a Facebook post from my father s home town of Trieste It was in Italian and my Italian comprehension is shamefully bad, but I started to depressingly realise that it was about a homeless Italian woman living in a car because supposedly all the emergency accommodation was taken up by Africans and Arabs.Here we go I thought, a racist meme appealing to the racist scum This was its obvious trope I also prepared myself for the inevitable left denunciation of the racists lies etc To my surprise, the posts were nearly all like, I have a room in my apartment that she can have until she gets on her feet My mother is on holidays for two months I just need to contact her first but I know she won t mind if the woman stays etc Italy and Italians are very far from perfect but on an individual level the first response is generosity and that can only be a good place to start from. Being one of the first generation Italian orprecisely, Sicilian Australians, Italy has always intrigued me as the place of origin of both my parents who came over between the wars I grew upwith a Sicilian bias, but soon discovered that Italy with its stunningly beautiful landscapes, its language, cuisine, culture, art, architecture and music have a formidable reputation is the culture of the West There is much to be proud about.But for the modern Italian, there is also the often murky understanding of what the country is politically, and the often confounding and perplexing nature of living life within this scenario.As a nation, Italy has a comparatively young identity stemming from its unification in the 19th century, but that unification is perhaps illusory there remains the divide between North and South, and since the two world wars, a further divide between Fascists and Communists In the meantime there is the prevailing presence of of the ages old Roman Catholic Church and the peculiarly ritualistic and sometimes superstitious versions of Christianity that is Italian to the core, regardless of any other influence plus the pervasive presence of the various Mafia organisations In Italy, and perhaps in Italy alone, all these forces have somehow coalesced into a kind of quagmire of competing and conflicting demands, aided and abetted by an astonishingly complex and stifling bureaucracy All of these forces have tentacles within each of the others, all feeding off the same political energies, all achieving little if anything, but keeping itself somehow alive despite or because because of this Even changing government has usually led merely to further stalemates it is as if it is all a game of musical chairs where none of the chairs are ever removed and all you are left with is yet another combination of ineffectual stasis How people survive within such impasses is perhaps the particular genius of the Italian people, but whether this is yet sustainable in the future is problematic.In 1999 Tobias Jones visited Italy for a four year stay, and while his love affair with the country and its people remains bright and shiny, his examination of this other side ends up being his main concern, and particularly so in relation to the rise and rise of the mind boggling Silvio Berlusconi as the dominant force in Italian politics His book highlights significant events, including terrorist attacks, particularly from an historical perspective, and then traces their provenance to the present The result is not pretty, but the information provided is immensely fascinating, and is presented in an easy to read fashion Jones effortlessly explains extremely complex machinations, convoluted rationalisation, enigmatic occurrences, etc which strangely are illuminating, but ultimately remain implacably complex, convoluted and enigmatic and thus indirectly establishes the fine mess Italy is in, including its inability to resolve its own issues It is the fact that someone like Berlusconi seems to be able to manipulate all of this confusion for his own and his Party s benefit is perhaps thetruly frightening bit And yet, perhaps because of the way Italians in their private lives deal with all this, there is still their resilience, and their refusal to let mere politics intervene significantly in theimportant aspects of living, that provides hope that this Italian spirit will not die or even fade away. Stendhal wrote that the feeling one gets from living in Italy is akin to that of being in love I know what he means, and so does Tobias Jones no relation I read this book to try to understand otherwise incomprehensible Italian politics the Berlusconi phenomenon in particular and I wasn t disappointed After a couple of weeks of reading and re reading, I can t get my hair to lie down The book didn t tell me anything I didn t suspect after 12 years of coming and going but it still shocked me by the extent of the revelations Tobias moved to Italy because he had an Italian girlfriend, fell in love with the place and didn t want to leave His work as a journalist, exposing the dark side of Italian political affairs, took him into areas of Italian life few dare to venture He researched the terrorist attacks of the Anni di Piombi the years of lead, 1970s and 80s bombs, shootings, mass terror, the deaths of magistrates, judges and politicians, the suicides of suspects and even the abduction and assassination of an Italian prime minister Aldo Moro in 1978 The repercussions of these events and the failure of the Italian systems of politics and justice to deal with them, still shape Italian politics today Watch the film Il Divo Sorrentino s beautifully researched, corruscating account of what happened.Tobias Jones s story of the 1990s fiasco of the Clean Hands campaign that led to the election of Silvio Berlusconi makes interesting reading The UK expenses scandal, the fact that our prime minister was friends with a Murdoch employee, cash for peerages, widespread phone hacking, all seem like nursery school squabbles in comparison to the daily dealings of the Italian state And when he gets to the world of football and finance yes they re all connected here , you finally realise what your Italian friends are up against and why most of them are so cynical about all aspects of public life.Some of you may remember an Italian banker, linked to the Vatican, who was found hanged under a London bridge Roberto Calvi was head of the Ambrosio bank in Milan and in partnership with a man called Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, head of the Vatican Bank, in a scheme to launder huge amounts of money into off shore accounts, assisted by a Sicilian tax expert called Sindona All, except Marcinkus, died mysteriously once investigations got under way Calvi died in London in a faked suicide Calvi s secretary died apparently another suicide Sindora was arrested, but given a poisoned coffee in prison as he awaited questioning The two men assigned to investigate the fraud were both murdered and Pope John Paul was shot in an attempted assassination Although the US federal dept had large amounts of evidence connecting him with international fraud, Marcinkus was never charged with anything.Tobias Jones sums up what was a tortuous investigation where the name of a man called Gelli kept recurring and the trail led to a Masonic lodge of which Gelli was head P2 whose membership included 52 senior caribiniere, 50 army officers, 37 high ranking tax police, 38 MPs including Berlusconi , 14 judges, 10 bank presidents and senior media professionals An extreme right wing document, the Plan for the Re Birth of Democracy was found in Gelli s secretary s briefcase at the airport A Parliamentary enquiry wrote that P2 had ongoing links with subversive groups and organisations instigating and countenancing their criminal purposes including terrorism If Dan Brown had written this as a novel, we wouldn t believe it Behind the surface of Italian democracy, Tobias Jones writes, lies a secret history, made up of hidden associations, contacts and even conspiracies, some farcical, othersserious There is a white mafia of financial scams, money laundering and international investment rackets No wonder Italy is in the financial shit.But even with all this knowledge, Tobias Jones is still in love with Italy with its people, food, wine, landscape and way of life Now that I m living here I know exactly how he feels I love it too There is a dark side, but there is also another the warm friendship and family life, the aesthetics of food and architecture, that keeps Italians sane and enables them to live with their murky political backdrop Originally published by Faber and Faber Tobias Jones has recently up dated this book with a new chapter on recent events and released it as an e book One person apparently Italian on .com has written two one star reviews which seem to be motivated by the kind of Italian politics TJ is describing The original publication had consistently four and five star reviews 52 of them and it earned every one I particularly loved the chapter that asked why the nation that once created the greatest art in the world now has the worst television Easy reading overview of contemporary Italian politics with a bit of culture thrown in It sjournalistic than literary, and parses politicsthan a casual reader might hope for, but Jones leaves some wonderful passages scattered throughout to keep one going And the book s now newly relevant with the recent re election of Berlusconi if your first and final response to news accounts of Italian politics is what the hell , this offers as good a place as any to start pulling apart the threads. In a readable style, Jones discusses Italy and Italians He even manages to make the political situation clearer Anyone would enjoy this book who is the least bit interested in Italy. I had been wanting to read this since arriving in Italy and one year later I finally got around to it Tobias Jones provides a fascinating account of life in il Bel Pease without bothering to conceal the nastier bits rather, he focuses on them The good Certain things I knew but wasn t sure why i.e Berlusconi bad and this book provided me with the why Jones also writes in a very readable style and on several topics football, politics, television so that the subject matter covers a wide scope of things The bad having lived here for a year, the majority of what Jones writes about are things I dor less already realized myself case in point Italian television sucks Having said that, this is still a good overview of Italy and why all the oft made allusions to it as a brothel are, actually, quite appropriate. What s the problem with the Italian football Why decent and smart British authors like, say, Nick Hornby, Tim Parks and John Foot were are so fascinated by that unimportant part of our culture Where is the romanticism in contemporary Italian football, I wonder Where is the fair play, the chivalry, the grit For Tobias Jones has been deceived too.Let s put ourselves in his football shoes for a few lines.I am a British journalist.I moved to Italy, because my girlfriend is Italian.I live in Parma.I have Italian friends and a praiseworthy knowledge of the Italian language including its less common subtleties.I write about Italy as a freelance.I am published on The Guardian.My range of topics includes social issues, religion, culture, politics and, yes, football.I support Parma Fc.Well done Let s get out of Tobias shoes now.Let s talk to him.Ok, Tobias, you are maybe the only English speaking author I read so far and writing about Italy who didn t make a single grammar or spelling mistake while using Italian terms You have to be praised for this I have to reckon it.But listen, you are a journalist You write about politics There is a photo of Berlusconi at a rally winkling beyond the glass of an olive oil bottle in the front cover of your book.Therefore you are supposed to know many things about the Italian power map Isn t it Well, here we are How the Hell, Tobias, can you have the nerve to pretend that Parma Fc was the Cinderella quoting you of the seven Italian top teams How can you dare to tell us that their victories were unexpected, creating the myth of a provincial team beating richful and powerful squads Parma Fc, dear Tobias, was far from being an outsider, the Italian equivalent of a pennyless 2nd Division Team winning the FA Cup Do you know who owned the team Calisto Tanzi, the infamous president of Parmalat It was the same Tanzi who bought minor players such as Thuram, Buffon, Cannavaro, Crespo or Veron in those years spending hundreds of millions of euros And where this loose change was coming from Parmalat Yeah the same worldwide company responsible of the biggest financial fraud we have ever had in Europe The brand Parmalat was printed on the yellow and blue jerseys of Parma Fc, that Cinderella team of outsiders you were naively supporting.Tobias, Tobias, TobiasIf you write about The Dark Heart of Italy and omit to tell us some things just because you want to please the British audience of your book, with the picturesque fairytale of the little provincial team winning over Juventus that s actually how the book ends , this is not very professional Moreover, the whole book is a bit discontinuos My impression is that you just touch the surface of things without going any further The book has its moments and it s impressive how much you got of the Italian way of thinking, but on its whole The Dark Heart of Italy is the journalistic equivalent of chick lit novels A bestseller with no grip. Really enjoyed this book I m a tad obsessed with all things relating to Italy and so this was really the book for me I liked it because it gave a different perspective on Italy one that you don t normally read aboutof a glimpse into the truth of Italy However, it loses a star because while reading it I couldn t help but think it was a tad outdated I kept thinking what impact has X had on Italy and whether the portrayal of Italy in the book is really an accurate portrayal of Italy as it is in the year 2014 A bit dated, but overall an excellent read Some parts really were stranger than fiction and aspects of it do make for lively dinner table discussion if you re looking for that