Oriana Fallaci (Hardcover)

The Journalist, the Agitator, the Legend

By Cristina De Stefano, Marina Harss (Translated by)

Other Press, 9781590517864, 288pp.

Publication Date: October 17, 2017

List Price: 25.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A landmark biography of the most famous Italian journalist of the twentieth century, an inspiring and often controversial woman who defied the codes of reportage and established the "La Fallaci" style of interview.

Oriana Fallaci is known for her uncompromising vision. To retrace Fallaci's life means to retrace the course of history from World War II to 9/11.

As a child, Fallaci enlisted herself in the Italian Resistance alongside her father. Her hatred of fascism and authoritarian regimes would accompany her throughout her life. Covering the entertainment industry early on in her career, she created an original, abrasive interview style, focusing on her subject's emotions, contradictions, and facial expressions more than their words. When she grew bored of interviewing movie stars and directors, she turned her attention to the greatest international figures of the time: Khomeini, Gaddafi, Indira Gandhi, and Kissinger, placing herself front and center in the story. Reporting from the front lines of the world's greatest conflicts, she provoked her own controversies wherever she was stationed, leaving behind epic collateral damage in her wake.

Thanks to unprecedented access to personal records, Cristina De Stefano brings back to life a remarkable woman whose groundbreaking work and torrid love affairs will not soon be forgotten. Oriana Fallaci allows a new generation to discover her story, and witness the passionate, persistent journalism that we urgently need in these times of upheaval and uncertainty.

About the Author

Cristina De Stefano is a journalist and writer. She lives and works in Paris as a literary scout for many publishing houses in the world. Her books, Belinda e il mostro. Vita segreta di Cristina Campo (Adelphi 2002) and Americane avventurose (Adelphi 2007) have been translated in French, German, Spanish and Polish.

Praise For Oriana Fallaci: The Journalist, the Agitator, the Legend

“Someone should write an opera about her: La Fallaci, beautiful extravagant, courageous survivor of war and tempestuous love affairs, speaker of truth to power. But for now, Cristina De Stefano’s new biography of the Italian journalistic superstar Oriana Fallaci—unabashed hagiography to counter the writer’s late-life reputational demise—must suffice...Fallaci was a piquant, stylish beauty, self-consciously photogenic in the Joan Didion way, a midcentury woman writer vigilant about her public image. Fallaci lives a genuinely romantic life, too, with stormy loves and war wounds. But De Stefano, who had access to living friends, family members and colleagues as well as archives and letters, reveals another side to her life.” NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

"Engrossing." NEW YORKER

“It’s the first authorized biography we have of Fallaci, with access to new personal records, and welcome for that reason…it gets her story onto the page and, thanks to its subject, is never dull.” NEW YORK TIMES 

“Cristina De Stefano rises to the challenges of describing such a dramatic life….If the book has a climax, it’s the chapter on “Interview with History,” an examination of Fallaci’s methods that gets so close to her special magic that it ought to be required reading for all reporters.  Indeed, anyone who takes time for this compelling biography will experience the tingle of that magic, and with it the continuing power of honest, hands-on journalism.” WASHINGTON POST

"A new biography gets Oriana Fallaci the way people who knew her couldn't." LOS ANGELES TIMES

“…brisk, even-handed and uncomplicated. I suspect that Oriana Fallaci would have enjoyed it.” TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

“In this meticulous, perceptive, and dramatic portrait, De Stefano reveals the full intensity and sensitivity of a trailblazing warrior writer.” BOOKLIST, Starred Review
“Italian journalist de Stefano peels away the layers of mystery surrounding journalist Oriana Fallaci (1929–2006), whose career broke boundaries for women in her field…[de Stefano] applied the same dogged tenacity to this biography that defined Fallaci’s work, and in the end de Stefano gained access to a large swathe of archival material, family records, and previously unpublished personal testimonies. Written in the present tense, the book allows readers to get to know Fallaci as she progresses in her career rather than in the context of the notoriety she garnered in her later years. This is an intimate investigation into a larger-than-life personality who, in the end, was just another lonely soul.PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
“The great Italian writer gets her due in this short but captivating biography. Oriana Fallaci (1929-2006) played a unique role in international journalism in the latter half of the 20th century…De Stefano diligently attempts to reveal all sides of a complex and brilliant figure…this is a superb introduction to the life of an irreplaceable figure.” KIRKUS REVIEWS

“Exceptional…this biography is a must read.” LIT HUB

“Cristina De Stefano’s new book Oriana Fallaci: The Journalist, the Agitator, the Legend takes a fresh look at the exceptional life and career of Fallaci, while also revealing a softer side of the notoriously hard-headed and private intellectual." WOMEN IN THE WORLD, NEW YORK TIMES AFFILIATE

“In Cristina De Stefano's Oriana Fallaci, the stories about Italy’s most controversial journalist have the power to stun as they race forward, one more astonishing than the next…The book offers a way for American readers to get to know the brilliant, contradictory "La Fallaci," as some called her. Today, with journalism on the front lines of the political and culture wars, it’s a good time to take pause and learn from Fallaci's life and work…De Stefano handles Fallaci's turbulent personal side with care…De Stefano has a terrific ear for Fallaci's most piquant quotes…the spirit of the book: headlong and direct, all the while maintaining an understanding of a reporter's commitment to asking hard questions.” WASHINGTON INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF BOOKS

“It is the first major work to emerge in English since its subject’s death…and offers the most readable and approachable overview of Fallaci’s life yet available.STANDPOINT MAGAZINE

“Biographer Christina de Stefano has written a fine portrait of Fallaci that is indeed, a la Fallaci, in its sharp journalistic style …Author de Stefano takes us inside Fallaci’s turbulent personal life and her formidable accomplishments as a skilled and courageous foreign correspondent. It is a potent reminder that real journalists were valued for much more than a sensational scoop or headline, and like Fallaci they put everything on the line at great personal cost for their chosen profession and craft.” NEW YORK JOURNAL OF BOOKS

“Cristina de Stefano’s comprehensive yet terse biography ORIANA FALLACI ($25.95, The Other Press hardcover) is rightly subtitled: ‘The Journalist, The Agitator, The Legend.’…Stefano’s authoritative examination, translated from the Italian by Marina Harris and with access to Fallaci’s personal papers as an authorized bio, offers bracing insight into a woman who defied convention and often common sense…Fallaci’s era is over but the stories remain as vivid as her adventure-filled life. ”BOSTON HERALD

“Fallaci’s tumultuous life is difficult to sum up in a single book, but de Stefano’s work offers a deeply perceptive insight into the fascinating Italian journalist, delivered in a riveting and engaging narrative style that’s evocative of Fallaci herself.” POPMATTERS

"This is as powerful a life story as you will ever read." —FOREWORD MAGAZINE

"In her authorized biography, Oriana Fallaci: The Journalist, the Agitator, the Legend Cristina De Stefano reminds readers of Fallaci’s journalistic legacy." WALL STREET JOURNAL 

“This is a terrific book about courage, ambition and old-fashioned Italian chutzpah.  These are the qualities that made Oriana Fallaci one of the most celebrated journalists of her time. This is a compelling biography of a pioneer of journalistic fearlessness.”  —Charles Kaiser, author of The Cost of Courage
“This is a gripping account of the controversial Italian journalist's rise from schoolgirl Partisan courier to courageous war reporter, celebrated author and the world's most feared and admired interviewer. Cristina De Stefano brings to life all the public success and private struggles of a woman who battled her way to the top of a world shaped by men, taking on Henry Kissinger, Muammar Gaddafi and Ayatollah Khomeini along the way. Oriana Fallaci is as vivid, bold and endlessly surprising as its subject.” —Rachel Aspden, author of Generation Revolution