Being Berlusconi: The Rise and Fall from Cosa Nostra to Bunga Bunga

Michael Day. Palgrave Macmillan, $28 (336p) ISBN 978-1-137-28004-6
British journalist Day delivers a lively, well-informed, and witty biography of media mogul and three-time Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. The book covers Berlusconi’s rise from his humble beginnings to early successes in the construction and media industries, where he proved a “brilliant but unscrupulous entrepreneur” with possible ties to the Mafia and a very uneasy relationship with the law. Day argues that the media tycoon entered politics not because he was called to public service, but because he needed to be in power to avoid jail or debt. While in office, Berlusconi filled powerful positions with “key cronies” who reworked parts of Italy’s penal code to suit his business and personal interests, such as by decreasing the statute of limitations for crimes. Day focuses on how the prime minister got away with reckless behavior for as long as he did, right up to his scandal-ridden fall, when he was convicted of tax fraud and embroiled in a sex scandal that exposed his dissolute private life. As much as opponents would like to bring the Berlusconi era to an end, Day concludes that the former prime minister’s legacy of rampant sexism, cronyism, and a “lax attitude to the law” may be difficult to uproot. Agent: Jane Dystel and Miriam Goderich, Dystel & Goderich. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/04/2015
Release date: 07/21/2015
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4668-7888-4
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