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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A superb book about a totally bizarre human being...but just too long
The subject of this biography Gabriele D'Annunzio is a truly strange character that almost none of us has ever heard of, but who had a profound influence on Italy before and after the first world war.

I think Francis Wheen nails it with his comment on the back that "This is a magnificent portrait of a preposterous character..."
D'Annunzio was so strange,...
Published 18 months ago by CharlesA

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The subject is fascinating, but...
I am only half way through, while d'Annunzio is a fascinating character, the chapters aren't in chronological order, which may be fashionable but I find it slightly irritating. Also the excess of elaborate detail, I feel it could have been written much more succinctly. I have had to have a break for a while and read something else. And despite, or perhaps because of...
Published 11 months ago by MR FANTASTICO


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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good to know that biographies with no apparent narrative order can still win prizes ;), 22 Feb. 2014
By 
John Copleston (RADLETT, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Pike: Gabriele d'Annunzio, Poet, Seducer and Preacher of War (Kindle Edition)
Memo to author: next time you drop a MS and get the chapters all over the place (or have a PC glitch) - and don't re-arrange the final draft because it would mean missing a deadline - own up. I am sure your publisher will give you more time......
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Pike: a cinematic biography., 28 April 2014
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This review is from: The Pike (Paperback)
Hughes Hallet keeps her promise, alternating legato narratives with staccato glimpses of the man and freely using techniques from other genres. The tale of the writer's extraordinary life is rich in detail and necessarily blends with an overview of Italy during the crucial years which led from the eve of the first world war up to the decade of Mussolini's hold on the country. Sometimes the reader feels that s/he could do with chronological order and with a less obviously cinematic approach. On the other hand, Hughes Hallett's analysis of the man and the artist is always complex and unbiased. The style is pleasantly mimetic, reminding of the ability D'Annunzio himself had of embodying the feelings, the dreams and the confused passions felt by many. Hallett's shrewd reading of D'Annunzio's promotional skills never gives in to a simplified insight into the artist, explaining the deep link between the Italian writer, Art Nouveau and the techniques used in marketing to the present day. Compelling and informative.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Larger than Life, 24 Mar. 2014
This review is from: The Pike: Gabriele d'Annunzio, Poet, Seducer and Preacher of War (Kindle Edition)
A wonderful supplement to the many works and programmes about the First World War casting detailed light on the Italian perspective. I had only heard of d'Annunzio as a footnote in history but this work makes clear his importance to both the Italian decision to enter the war and, although he was reluctant to fully endorse Mussolini, the massive contribution he made to both the style and substance of Fascism. He appeared to be equally adept at the politics of the bedroom which Lucy Hughes-Hallett records in jaw-dropping detail - no need to read between the lines of guarded correspondence here! My only quibble would be with the "collage" chapters where the author collates random facts and events of d'Annunzio's life. A bit more editing might have helped in these areas. Clearly a candidate however for the best biography of the year.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It is written with pace and energy and a wonderful turn of phrase, 11 April 2015
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This review is from: The Pike: Gabriele d'Annunzio, Poet, Seducer and Preacher of War (Kindle Edition)
This is a truly remarkable book. I am not a fan of biography in the general scheme of things, but this is written in such a creative and accomplished way. it is not a linear account of d'Annunzio's life, rather an illuminating weaving together of his personal, political, and cultural preoccupations. There is no element of hero worship in this text and sometimes d'Annunzio is shown to be 'monstrous' - but this 'monstrosity' is shown to be the product of so many historical currents ( including a national 'boodlust', an aesthetic decadence, a cult of the 'hero', and so on). We gain a sense of D'Annunzio as a scavanger of other men's ideas and work, but we are also made aware of what in all of this is truly new. It is written with pace and energy and a wonderful turn of phrase. I cannot commend this book too highly.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A very consuming read., 4 Sept. 2014
By 
geoff "nfoe org uk" (calne, wiltshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
I usually read 2-3 books at a time, I simply couldn't with this one, no other book got a look in until I'd finished reading it. An amazingly complex and interesting character like D'Annuzio could never be written about in a simple way and I think Lucy Hughes-Hallett did a good job tackling the subject, I found myself groaning out loud in disbelief while reading about his antics but to able to write about him in any logical way must have been especially hard.

The book is very thought provoking and I was left with the feeling that I'd love to plan a holiday in Italy and go and see Vittoriale.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant account of an unlikeable subject, 7 July 2014
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This review is from: The Pike: Gabriele d'Annunzio, Poet, Seducer and Preacher of War (Kindle Edition)
I thought this was an extremely well written and scholarly yet accessible account of a very complex -though dreadful - man, and an interesting insight into Italian politics of the time. It explained some of the, to us, twisted reasoning of the pro-war parties.
I didn't know anything about Gabriele D'Annunzio until I visited Il Vittoriale on holiday, so was keen to read this book and find out more about the man who had lived there. Some other reviewers have commented that they felt it was too long - I don't agree as I felt that everything added to the portrait.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Goodness what a man!, 25 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: The Pike: Gabriele d'Annunzio, Poet, Seducer and Preacher of War (Kindle Edition)
I found this book really astounding, how could anybody be so mixed up.
I found it heavy going at times, but the story it told, in my opinion made up for that.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Detailed biography, 9 Dec. 2014
This review is from: The Pike (Paperback)
This is a biography of Gabriele d’Annunzio, an Italian poet and revolutionary who laid some of the foundations for Mussolini’s totalitarian takeover of Italy by declaring himself leader of city-state Fiume in 1919. D’Annunzio was not a particularly likeable character, but the author finds herself interested enough in him to dig through the minutiae of his life. It’s a little too detailed and bogged down in places for my taste – I would rather a briefer overview – but that should not detract too much from what is a well researched biography.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Samuel Johnson Prize 2013 - Award-winning book!, 24 Nov. 2013
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There has been great interest in this book because of it's extraordinary subject, and also for the unusual treatment of it by the author, who doesn't shy away from including the earthier sides of d'Annunzio. As with other reviewers, I found that it is hard to put down, such is the unexpected nature of the information reported, and the way it is assembled (the 'Notes' at the end of the book detail the sources used, without which many might doubt the truth of the wilder episodes).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutey superb, 8 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: The Pike: Gabriele d'Annunzio, Poet, Seducer and Preacher of War (Kindle Edition)
A highly readable and entertaining account of the unique D'Annunzio from Lucy Hughes-Hallett. Every award the boom has earned well deserved.
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