Citizen of the World
Princeton University Press, Hardcover, 9780691115405, 442pp.
Publication Date: September 2, 2007
What adventure novelist could have invented the life of Giuseppe Garibaldi? The revolutionary, soldier, politician, and greatest figure in the fight for Italian unification, Garibaldi (1807-1882) brought off almost as many dramatic exploits in the Americas as he did in Europe, becoming an international freedom fighter, earning the title of the "hero of two worlds," and making himself perhaps the most famous and beloved man of his century. Alfonso Scirocco's Garibaldi is the most up-to-date, authoritative, comprehensive, and convincing biography of Garibaldi yet written. In vivid narrative style and unprecedented detail, and drawing on many new sources that shed fresh light on important events, Scirocco tells the full story of Garibaldi's fascinating public and private life, separating its myth-like reality from the outright myths that have surrounded Garibaldi since his own day.
Scirocco tells how Garibaldi devoted his energies to the liberation of Italians and other oppressed peoples. Sentenced to death for his role in an abortive Genoese insurrection in 1834, Garibaldi fled to South America, where he joined two successive fights for independence--Rio Grande do Sul's against Brazil and Uruguay's against Argentina. He returned to Italy in 1848 to again fight for Italian independence, leading seven more campaigns, including the spectacular capture of Sicily. During the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln even offered to make him a general in the Union army.
Presenting Garibaldi as a complex and even contradictory figure, Scirocco shows us the pacifist who spent much of his life fighting; the nationalist who advocated European unification; the republican who served a king; and the man who, although compared by contemporaries to Aeneas and Odysseus, refused honors and wealth and spent his last years as a farmer.