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on 21 December 2014
A proper pantomime villain. The tragic thing is all his theatrically violent escapades are real. He tainted everyone he came into contact with. His mistresses seem to suffer the most but he also seems to be responsible for sending millions of Italian men to their deaths in the First World War. he was also the prototype for all 20th century dictators. He was, indeed, the devil incarnate!
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Huge areas of this infuriated me. I'm still trying to figure out if this is because the author tries to be clever or because D'Annunzio was such a deeply unpleasant person. She certainly gets that latter feeling over, plus a certain amount of sadness that he could not channel his undoubted talents (and bravery) in a better manner. A worthy prize winner.
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on 14 March 2014
A vile character described vividly. A thoroughly readable book which presents insights into a period of Italian (and wider European) history which doesn't usually receive much coverage beyond Mussolini. Couldn't put it down. Bought a second copy as a present and my friend, a much more academic type than me, also rated it very highly.
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on 23 February 2014
The Pike, Italy's forerunner to Mussolini, is depicted as a saviour, a romancer and an artist beyond compare. The book puts Italy's last couple of hundred years into perspective and is a vital educational tool for all of us whose knowledge of Italy and its neighbours is deficient, and that goes for most of the UK population.
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on 1 May 2014
GIVEN ITS SEVERAL AWARDS, THIS IS A WIDELY ACCLAIMED AND REMARKABLE EXAMPLE OF BIOGRAPHY AT ITS BEST. THE SUBJECT IS THE MOST UNATTRACTIVE PERSON IN MANY WAYS, BUT HE LIVED HIS OWN LIFE TO THE FULL, AND PLAYED AN IMPORTANT PART IN ITALIAN POLITICAL LIFE AT THE START OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, AS LH-H TELLS MOST ENGAGINGLY.
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on 21 March 2014
An acutely written tale of a dubious yet astonishing character that you have to remind yourself was a real person and not a work of fiction. Clever, charming, infuriating , charismatic, hateful, D'Annunzio was all of these and more. Best non-fiction work for a long time thanks to Lucy Hughes-Hallett's immense talent.
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on 6 June 2015
Although the style is a little confusing to begin with, Hughes-Hallett pulls off the extraordinary feat of keeping our attention on the monstrous D'Annunzio without disguising his true character. D'Annunzio was a ghastly but brilliant combination of Kipling, Oscar Wilde and Theodore Roosevelt, and through his genius and charisma helped lead his country into the disaster of the First World War, but would happily have done it again. It's an amazing story, of which I knew nothing before reading this book, brilliantly told.
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on 31 July 2014
I bought this Kindle book mistakenly thinking it was about a Croatian, as I was about to start a holiday there. I wouldn't otherwise have read this. However the book kept me interested throughout and I finish it having both been entertained and educated.
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on 28 August 2014
This was a fascinating book, but not an easy read. It was well written, but I felt that it went on just a bit too long. Having said that I'm not sure where it could have been cut. I'm glad that I read it and also glad that I have finished it.
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on 24 April 2014
Enthralling. The subject seemed to breathe again in all his perversity. A complete cad,whom you could practically smell and such bad news for any woman unfortunate enough to tangle with him. Look forward to LHH's next offering.....
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