by Nunzio Pernicone and Fraser M. Ottanelli
University of Illinois Press
The image of the anarchist assassin haunted the corridors of power and the popular imagination in the late nineteenth century. Fear spawned a gross but persistent stereotype: a swarthy Italian armed with a bloody knife or revolver and bred to violence by a combination of radical politics, madness, innate criminality, and poor genes. That Italian anarchists targeted--and even killed--high-profile figures added to their exaggerated, demonic image. Nunzio Pernicone and Fraser Ottanelli dig into the transnational experiences and the historical, social, cultural, and political conditions behind the phenomenon of anarchist violence in Italy. Looking at political assassinations in the 1890s, they illuminate the public effort to equate anarchy's goals with violent overthrow. Throughout, Pernicone and Ottanelli combine a cutting-edge synthesis of the intellectual origins, milieu, and nature of Italian anarchist violence with vivid portraits of its major players and their still-misunderstood movement. A bold challenge to conventional thinking, Assassins against the Old Order demolishes a century of myths surrounding anarchist violence and its practitioners.
"Assassins Against the Old Order is a significant historical study and a tribute to an eminent scholar." -- Ovunque Siamo
"Pernicone's posthumously published work will open many eyes about Italian anarchist and their attentats (actions). Readers who want a clear understanding of Italian anarchism and anarchists will be well repaid by reading Assassins against the Old Order. Highly Recommended." -- Choice
About the Authors:
Nunzio Pernicone was professor emeritus in the Department of History and Politics at Drexel University. He is the author of Italian Anarchism, 1864-1892 and Carlo Tresca: Portrait of a Rebel. He died in 2013.
Fraser Ottanelli is a professor of history at the University of South Florida. His books include The Communist Party of the United States from the Depression to World War II and he is also coeditor of Letters from the Spanish Civil War: A U.S. Volunteer Writes Home.