THE DEATH OF MEN by Allan Massie


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The Aido Moro abduction and assassination--fictionalized. Sharing the task of narration: Raimundo Dusa, historian brother of the abducted Corrado Dusa, the high Italian Christian Democrat politican who has just engineered an historic rapprochement with (and government inclusion of) the Communists; a young marchese, Tomaso, one of the Red Brigades and a friend of Corrado's son Bernardo--who has helped to mastermind his father's kidnapping; and an English journalist, Christopher, whose jaded sexual appetites coincide (in good Roman fashion) with his political blague in such a way that he almost happens upon the identities of the kidnappers. English novelist Massie has an expert grip on the maneuverings of all involved, most especially those of the ruling government (""negotiations about negotiations""). And the book's savvy political discursiveness is its strongest attraction: ""Victory is never what it appears on the prospectus. Power is a drug, a pleasure, but also always less than you think. Your target is never achieved, it recedes. Action corrupts, yes, my son, you are right there, but it is itself corrupted. . . ."" But since this remains a very faithful elaboration upon recent historical events, there's little suspense, elasticity, or narrative involvement here--resulting in a serious, hard-working, rather trudging novel that's short on fictional values yet too fictionalized to engage a broad nonfiction readership.

Pub Date: March 30th, 1982
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin