The Tuscans have Paradise in their eyes, and Inferno in their mouths""-- such is the theme of Malaparte's capriciously acid portrait of the Tuscan people and especially the Florentines. Tuscans divorce themselves from both Italy and the Pope with enormous scorn, considering themselves a unique people who sneer at common humor and laugh at funerals. The present translation, by Rex Benedict, is often inspired in re-effecting Malaparte's mischievous prose into magniloquently ironic English. Malaparte's portrait draws the viewer into every aspect of Tuscan achievement in art, literature, architecture. Aside from its sheer poetry, his delineation has a razor-edged incivility to all other peoples (excepting the Umbrians); the Tuscans consider themselves the only true masters of life in the world. But not only are the men paragons of masculine curtness and controlled inner rage, the women too have a peculiar cruelty that sometimes lends murder to the landscape.