GARIBALDI by Peter De Polnay


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It may be that an author's conception of the subject determines his treatment of a biography. Do Polnay devotes much of his book to statements depicting Garibaldi's total political unsophistication, his personal ingenuousness, and his ""irresponsibility where plans and projects were concerned"" -- and yet credits the man with some of the most daring, ingenious, and specialized military exploits in pre-Twentieth Century history. Garibaldi, who contributed his redoubtable talents so bountifully to the War of Italian Liberation, is made by Do Polnay to look like an eccentric, somewhat lecherous, emotionally immature extremist who only managed to emerge from battle as a hero by virtue of the ""magic of his personality."" Neither Mazzini, Cavous, Orsini, nor any of the other famous figures of that period of italian development come off any better at De Polnay's hands; the author seems to dislike all the characters in this curious tableau. Perhaps the irregular texture of the biography is representative of Garibaldi himself, of whom Mme. Schwartz, most intimate and successful of his career, has said: ""In history, Garibaldi will always shine resplendent as a sun; but even the sun has its spots.

Publisher: Nelson