Author(s): PUGLIESE STANISLAO G
Although he was born Secondino Tranquilli and was known by more than a dozen aliases during his period of clandestine political work for the Italian Communist Party and with the American Office of Strategic Services, the subject of this fascinating new biography has become known in history as Ignazio Silone (1900-1978). One of the major figures of twentieth-century Italian literature, Silone was as notorious for his anti-fascist activism as for his writing. So well known was he as a symbol of freedom during World War II that the United States Army printed unauthorized versions of his novels "Fontamara" and "Bread and Wine" and distributed them throughout Italy during the country's liberation after 1943. More recently, after his death Silone was the object of controversy, after reports arose that Silone had been an informant for the Fascist police. Stanislao Pugliese's biography evaluates all the evidence and arrives at a portrait of a complex figure, whose life and work should be the topic of far wider discussion. "Bitter Spring" is a memorable biography amidst one of the most troubled moments in modern history.
Stanislao G. Pugliese is a professor of modern European history at Hofstra University. A former fellow at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Italian Academy at Columbia University, and the University of Oxford, he is the author of "Carlo Rosselli: Socialist Heretic and Antifascist Exile "and the translator of Silone's "Memoir from a Swiss Prison."