Robert Gordon: Adano: Sicily, Occupation and the American Century

9Oct_Robert Gordon Adano Sicily Occupation and the American Century

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The Italian Studies Library Group Annual Lecture

Explore the history and literature of the ‘other’ occupation of Italy. Long overshadowed in memory by the Axis occupation of Europe, this lecture looks at the Allies’ control of the continent and its beginnings in 1943 Sicily, as seen by the American war reporter and writer, John Hersey.

The Allied occupation of Europe began in Sicily in July 1943 and it marked the beginning of the end of Axis Europe. Long overshadowed in memories of the war by the Axis occupation of Europe, and in Italy by the later histories and myths of the anti-Fascist Resistance, the Allied occupation nevertheless marked a watershed moment in Italian, European and American history. A new settlement for the postwar world and for a post-Fascist democracy in Italy began to be imagined and put into practice by Allied foreces and by Italians, in an uneasy mixture of centrally planned systems and on-the-ground improvisations. And all the while, the war and the civil war raged on, alliances and governments turning over by the month, until final victory in April 1945.

This lecture explores the remarkable history and literature of this occupation, drawing on both Italian and Allied sources, and on material ranging from photo-reportage to journalism to fiction. Its main focus is on the work of the great American war reporter and writer, John Hersey, who accompanied the Allied landings in southern Sicily on 10 July 1943, dispatched his reports to Life magazine, and published a few months later the first major work of 'occupation literature' of this war, A Bell for Adano (1944).

In association with the Italian Studies Library Group


Name: Robert Gordon: Adano: Sicily, Occupation and the American Century
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
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When: -
Price: Full Price: £8.00
Member: £5.00
Senior 60+: £6.00
Student: £5.00
Registered Unemployed: £5.00
Under 18: £5.00
Friend of the British Library: £5.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546