Good evening or good morning

More news on my book. I handed over the corrected proofs this morning, together with an index. Compiling the index was easier than I’d thought it would be, but still not exactly fun; it was one of those tasks that leaves you looking round for the next chunk of mental hard labour for several days afterwards. My basic approach was to index every proper name I could see, plus a few key concepts. I then cut out most names with only one occurrence, although a few got left in for the benefit of anyone who picks up the book and starts by browsing the index (don’t tell me it’s just me).

It’s called ‘More work! Less pay!’ Rebellion and repression in Italy, 1972-7, and it’ll be published (initially in hardback) by Manchester University Press this autumn. And that index? Here’s a selection. (For each initial letter I’ve included the first entry and the one with the most references.)

A A/traverso; Autonomia
B Balestrini, Nanni; Brigate Rosse (BR)
C Cacciari, Massimo; Confederazione Generale Italiano del Lavoro (CGIL)
D d’Alema, Massimo; Democrazia Cristiana (DC)
E L’erba voglio; Euzkadi Ta Azkatasuna (ETA)
F Faina, Gianfranco; Feltrinelli, Giangiacomo
G Gandalf the Violet; Gruppi d’Azione Partigiana (GAP)
H ‘Historic compromise’; Hot Autumn
I Ingrao, Pietro
L Lama, Luciano; Lotta Continua
M Maccari, Germano; Movement of 1977
N Napolitano, Giorgio; Negri, Antonio
O Operaismo
P Pajetta, Enrico; Partito Comunista Italiano (PCI)
Q Quaderni Rossi
R Radical Party; Resistance (Italian)
S Sayer, Andrew; Scalzone, Oreste
T Tarrow, Sidney
U Unità Comuniste Combattenti (UCC); l’Unità
V Via italiana al socialismo
W Wowdadaism

They say you can tell a lot about a book from its index; certainly I’m pretty pleased with what this one seems to be saying. It’s not Pale Fire – no “Berlinguer, idiocy of; idleness of; taste of, in shoes” sub-entries – but I think it tells you pretty much what the book’s about. It’s about Togliatti, Feltrinelli, Lotta Continua and the Red Brigades, and everything that connects them. One connection in particular:

Partito Comunista Italiano (PCI) passim
see also Austerity; Berlinguer, Enrico; Confederazione Generale Italiano del Lavoro; Historic Compromise; Lama, Luciano; Togliatti, Palmiro; l’Unità



  1. Posted 20 April 2009 at 23:35 | Permalink | Reply

    Congratulations on getting one step closer to the finished book. I have only one question.

    Gandalf the Violet?

  2. Posted 21 April 2009 at 11:02 | Permalink | Reply

    “My name is Gandalf the Violet. I shall speak in a strictly personal capacity. As such, I speak in the name of the Elves of Fangorn Forest, the Coloured Nuclei of Red Laughter, the Absent Phantom Political Movement, the Dada-Hedonist Cells, Worker’s Joy and Student Rejoicing, the Schizophrenic International, the Disturbed Clandestine Nuclei, the Chicory Tribe, the Cimbles and all the Metropolitan Indians.”

    Thus spoke G the V, addressing a meeting in 1977. Massimo d’Alema was sitting on the same platform as representative of the Communist Party’s youth organisation (and as such speaking in the name of, er, the Communist Party’s youth organisation). D’Alema eventually became Prime Minister, but I’m not sure he ever had as much fun as Gandalf.

  3. dsquared
    Posted 27 April 2009 at 23:29 | Permalink | Reply

    Is there an entry under “P” for “Propaganda 2”, or is it under D for Due?

  4. Posted 28 April 2009 at 09:42 | Permalink | Reply

    Neither, I’m afraid – you’ll have to stick to Puppetmasters and the recent crop of Berlusconi books for that stuff. My angle is more that, even with all that stuff in the background, the PCI could still have done so much better – for themselves and for Italian society. Among other things, it’s a case study in the risks of will-you-condemnathons.

  5. Posted 29 April 2009 at 10:21 | Permalink | Reply

    As I recall Gandalf went West in the end and so of course did the PCI.

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