The Red Brigades: The Story of Italian Terrorism

Robert C. Meade, Author, Richard N. Gardner, Foreword by St. Martin's Press $29.95 (301p) ISBN 978-0-312-03593-8
Meade, an attorney, describes how student and labor agitation in Italy during the 1970s and '80s led to widespread violence, much of it orchestrated by the Brigate Rosse , and the government's fumbling efforts to respond. The study highlights the misshapen idealism of those who believed in the possibility of a socialist Utopia in Italy, brought about by Marxist-Leninist revolution. Meade traces the fragmentation of the Red Brigades after their 1978 execution of Aldo Moro, leader of the Christian Democratic Party, whose selection as victim illustrates how ``symbolism submerges feelings of humanity'' in immature revolutionaries ``addicted to ideology.'' The Moro case revealed how ill-equipped the government was to mount a counter-offensive against terrorism, and exemplified the dilemma facing democracies: how to react to terrorist attack without compromising principles. Meade reports on the membership of the Red Brigades, what they believed in and what actions their beliefs led them to. His speculations on ``lessons learned,'' however, are blandly general. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/1989
Release date: 11/01/1989
Paperback - 301 pages - 978-1-349-20306-2
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