Historian Sonia Marzetti asks herself in the preface: “To read the beautiful pages of the historian’s book Agostino Bistarellistreetsne to ask: but is Emilio Lussu an old or modern character?
The wise ‘Emilio Lussu, the story of a lifetime’ published by The golden ass editionsis the portrait of a personality to be rediscovered, of strong moral integrity, enemy of transformism, interpreter of a conception of power as a service, as the author outlines in this biography told through the anthropological changes and mutations experienced in the history of our country .
“I wrote this book for a personal reason because I studied some phenomena such as united Italy, exile, reducism, resistance, and I found in Lussu a point of unification in all these events. The idea became a reality before the emergency Covid, at the request of , what happened in the Italian political system, which in turn made me think about how much they lacked to be like Lussu.
Bistarelli introduces him to us as a first child in Armungia, where he has a childhood like all the others, even though he is a wealthy family, we see him run barefoot with his peers, because that’s what everyone does. So by 13 o’clock getting good at hunting because it is almost an initiation rite to shoot the boar, and he will not fail his father. And then again boy, one student growing up to be the young man we would have liked to have met and would have been so nice to have as a friend. Because one realizes when reading one after the other the intriguing pages of this volume dedicated to him that he is a person to be trusted. A brave guide in the struggle to change the status quo, an upright defender of rights and freedoms, Lussu was among the few who understood the danger of fascism, but he was not listened to and was later marginalized.
“Fascism was not considered a political party, but a form of banditism protected by the state. The big owners joined the fascists, but the contempt increased every day in the rest of the population. Such a situation could not have been comfortable for the government “popular consensus, especially the endorsement of former combatants whom Mussolini proclaimed himself direct representative. Therefore, the policy was suddenly changed. The prefects were replaced and General Gandolfo was sent to Sardinia as the representative of fascism and the government, prefect with full powers” . (March on Rome and the Surrounding Area, Einaudi 1974)
So why can you trust him? Marzetti always explains it well in the preface: “For his total lack of rhetoric. For the connection between public and private life. Because everything he writes comes exclusively from his experiences. As during the boar hunt, where he, though a little more than a child, must take the right decision, certainly rely on the information received, but in the end it is he who has to act.The situation repeats itself when he as an adult finds himself in making difficult decisions, but the immediate reaction will not be enough, if it concerns other people. “.
The strength of Bistarelli’s history is to have the purpose of addressing the new generations in particular and delivering a new image of Lussu to public memory, beginning with the importance of its matrix shareholder. He is the creator, the action theorist, transformed and defined in the resistance: “We can certainly say that Lussu has always interpreted fascism correctly and worked to make people understand the need for a military initiative to overthrow it. His theoretical and operational work has always had this consciousness: in this sense the thread that unites mobilization of the first post-war period in Sardinia, work in exile in justice and freedom, in the resistance movement is extraordinarily evident “.
Was Lussu a left-wing politician? Yes, but a post-communist left wing that he did not know, which has definitely dealt with the past and cut with totalitarianism. And these his values can be found in the constitutional charter, which he himself has contributed to write: “The coherence of his thoughts, his moral integrity, his vision of autonomy, his spirit of service. “
By reading this book, you are completely immersed in the life of the great writer and politician to the point where you deceive yourself, that you are next to him keen to write or talk to his friends or while arguing with his opponents. The high school years and those at the Faculty of Law unfold quickly. For what interests him most is to finish his studies as soon as possible in order to master his life. And it will be. Just graduated in law, ardent interventionist, who will sign with Italy’s entry into the First World War in 1915.
“I’ve been at war for over a year, a little on all fronts, and so far I have not seen a single Austrian in the face. Yet we kill each other, every day. Kill each other without knowing each other, without even seeing each other It’s awful! “. He then condemned the journalists of the day for being like Ariosto: “they described a hundred blows without seeing a single one“.
Do you not think these are phrases that we can perfectly apply to today’s war in Ukraine?
It should also be noted that in the volume there is a link that leads to a beautiful interview with the anthropologist Pietro Clementeby title: A dialogue between generations of the twentieth century.
A book that should be read and enjoyed. Because Emilio Lussu is a very modern character who speaks to today and can still help us understand the present and the future.
Impossible not to ask Bistarelli what position Lussu would have taken (in his opinion) regarding the dispatch of weapons to Kiev after the Russian invasion: “I do not think it is possible or right to answer on his behalf. What I can say is that it would have had as its criterion the criterion of the autonomy and independence of the population. And of the rejection of hypocrisy, of the half-goal “.
Agostino Bistarelli he taught contemporary history at the “Sapienza” University of Rome and history didactics at “G. d’Annunzio” by Chieti Pescara. With Gli esuli del Risorgimento (2011) she won in 2013 the award for the Accademia dei Lincei “Contessa Pasolini dall’Onda Borghese “for the history of the Italian Risorgimento. For L’Asino d’oro he edited the edition of Resistant linesin (2019) by Iliano Caprari. He is currently an associate professor at a Roman high school and research referee for the Central Council for Historical Studies.
On the cover: Young Emilio Lussu, drawing of Francesco Del Casino: Italian painter who began his career in 1962 with a production linked to the style of Renato Guttuso, followed by a phase influenced by the art of Pablo Picasso. In 1964, he moved to Orgosolo, Sardinia, where he began his work as a muralist. About 90% of the murals in Orgosolo are his work,