cover image Oriana Fallaci: The Journalist, the Agitator, the Legend

Oriana Fallaci: The Journalist, the Agitator, the Legend

Cristina de Stefano, trans. from the Italian by Marina Harss. Other, $25.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-59051-786-4

Italian journalist de Stefano peels away the layers of mystery surrounding journalist Oriana Fallaci (1929–2006), whose career broke boundaries for women in her field. The book notes how as a child Fallaci was haunted by the specter of a discontented mother, who longed for a life beyond motherhood, and goes on to trace Fallaci’s improbable rise from a childhood in Mussolini’s Italy to her career as a journalist, agitator, and novelist. De Stefano goes behind the scenes of her high-profile interviews with figures such as Muammar Gaddafi, Indira Gandhi, Henry Kissinger, and Pope Benedict XVI. Never having met her subject, de Stefano reached out to Fallaci’s friends and colleagues for interviews but encountered reticence and sometimes belligerence, and often received contradictory accounts from those who agreed to cooperate. Yet her subject inspired her to stay the course and keep digging. She applied the same dogged tenacity to this biography that defined Fallaci’s work, and in the end de Stefano gained access to a large swathe of archival material, family records, and previously unpublished personal testimonies. Written in the present tense, the book allows readers to get to know Fallaci as she progresses in her career rather than in the context of the notoriety she garnered in her later years. This is an intimate investigation into a larger-than-life personality who, in the end, was just another lonely soul. [em](Oct.) [/em]