Alessandro Orsini is one of Italy's premier analysts of political extremism. His investigation of the beliefs and mind-sets of Europe's political fringe has largely focused on anarchist and far-left groups, but in Sacrifice he turns his inquiry to the rapidly expanding neofascist movement. He joined local groups of a neofascist organization he names Sacrifice in two neighboring cities with very different political cultures. In this gripping, "insider" book, which features dialogues with various militia members, Orsini shows how fascists live day to day, how they understand their world, and how they build a parallel universe in which the correctness and probity of their attitudes are clear.
Orsini describes the long, troubled process by which these two groups slowly accepted him as an investigatoractivist and later expelled him for his ideologically uncommitted stance and refusal to subject his observations to censorship. His activities as a fascist were often mundane: leafleting, distributing food parcels to the indigent, and attending public rallies. In Sacrifice, Orsini describes from within the masculine ethos of the militias, the groups' relations with local police and politicians, and the central role of violence and anticommunist actions in building a sense of fascist community.
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Number of pages: 232
Weight: 6605 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm
"Alessandro Orsini invested intensive field research and anthropological study into understanding the sacrality of the anti-bourgeois struggle for Italy's left-wing terrorists. Now he has applied his insights to making sense of how political violence is generated from within a small, hierarchical neo-fascist cult. The result is a new genre of academic analysis where sociology, ethnography, psychology, and history merge with field journal, documentary, cinema verite, autobiography, and journalism. The dynamics of a single cell of fanaticism are uniquely revealed in a way which makes the vast ideological monsters generating political violence in the modern world all the more intelligible, all the more human, and all the more disturbing."-- Roger Griffin, author of Terrorist's Creed
"A stunning rendering of life inside a fascist militia, exposing the raw exhilaration of violence that lies at this heart of this frightening world."-- Kathleen Blee, author of Inside Organized Racism
"Vivid reporting and suspense as an Italian professor joins a militant fascist gang. This is social science in action-a page-turner for sure!"-- Clark McCauley, coauthor of Friction
"At the end, Orsini writes that part of his motivation for the book came from when he was young and witnessed a childhood friend grow disaffected. After failing exams and feeling adrift, the friend went from an easygoing joker to a Fascist group member. Orsini concludes that, for himself, 'The most effective way to fight violence is to get to know it.'"-- David A. Taylor * Washington Independent Review of Books *