List Price: $ 12.95
Save 18 % off List Price
Pushing Past the Night : Coming to Terms with Italy's Terrorist Past
December 15, 1969, was the most important day of Mario Calabresi's life, although he would not be born for another year. On that date, the anarchist Giuseppe Pinelli fell to his death from a window at the Milan police headquarters, where he was being questioned about his role in the Fontana Square Massacre, the most infamous episode of domestic terrorism in Italy. A bomb explosion at the National Agrarian Bank claimed the lives of sixteen people and wounded eighty-four, inaugurating the period of terrorist attacks in public places and "revenge" killings by extremists on both ends of the political spectrum that would become known as the Years of Lead.
Police commissioner Luigi Calabresi, Mario's father, was in the building, though not in the room, at the time of the accident. This didn't stop the rumors that Pinelli had been killed by Calabresi. These suspicions kicked off "a ferocious lynching, albeit in slow motion" -as the Italian paper La Repubblica characterized it-that culminated in the murder of Luigi Calabresi outside his home one morning in 1972. He left behind his pregnant wife and two young sons.
In this memoir, Mario Calabresi explores the personal and political fallout of Italy's era of domestic terrorism in a poignant and very personal account of a major public event. His grief at the murder of his father is balanced by a desire to overcome the divisions that still scar Italy today. This is a powerful project in a book that, while describing the effects of terror, calls not only for accountability but also for redemption.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
October 08, 2009
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Pushing Past the Night by Mario Calabresi
There was nothing normal about the day he was killed. But no day had been normal for quite a while, so his murder wasn't entirely unexpected. Ominous signs, panic attacks, anxiety, and even tears had become my parents' constant companions. No one could say exactly when it started. Or maybe they could. Perhaps it was the evening that my father came home, shaken, and announced, "Gemma, Pinelli is dead." Or the day that graffiti calling my father "Commissario Assassino"-Inspector Murder-started to appear on walls throughout the city. Or the morning that the ferocious press campaign began, filled with violence, sarcasm, threats, promises, and taunts. And then there were the political cartoons. Not long after I was born, the newspaper for the militant left, Lotta Continua, printed one in which my father is holding me in his arms, intent on teaching me how to use a toy guillotine to decapitate a doll representing an anarchist.
The details that I have collected over the years and filed away in my memory have transformed an ordinary day into a fateful one. Foretold. Almost expected.
You could say that my parents had been preparing for the tragedy to explode for some time. Unconsciously. Almost irrationally. When I try to imagine those moments today, those days of wavering between composure and despair, I find it hard to breathe. I struggle to understand how we were able to survive. First together, as a family. And then my mother, by herself.