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Citizen of the World: A Biography
Alfonso Scirocco
Translated by Allan Cameron

Hardcover | 2007 | $49.95 | £41.95 | ISBN: 9780691115405
456 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 1 map.
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What adventure novelist could have invented the life of Giuseppe Garibaldi? The revolutionary, soldier, politician, and greatest figure in the fight for Italian unification, Garibaldi (1807-1882) brought off almost as many dramatic exploits in the Americas as he did in Europe, becoming an international freedom fighter, earning the title of the "hero of two worlds," and making himself perhaps the most famous and beloved man of his century. Alfonso Scirocco's Garibaldi is the most up-to-date, authoritative, comprehensive, and convincing biography of Garibaldi yet written. In vivid narrative style and unprecedented detail, and drawing on many new sources that shed fresh light on important events, Scirocco tells the full story of Garibaldi's fascinating public and private life, separating its myth-like reality from the outright myths that have surrounded Garibaldi since his own day.

Scirocco tells how Garibaldi devoted his energies to the liberation of Italians and other oppressed peoples. Sentenced to death for his role in an abortive Genoese insurrection in 1834, Garibaldi fled to South America, where he joined two successive fights for independence--Rio Grande do Sul's against Brazil and Uruguay's against Argentina. He returned to Italy in 1848 to again fight for Italian independence, leading seven more campaigns, including the spectacular capture of Sicily. During the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln even offered to make him a general in the Union army.

Presenting Garibaldi as a complex and even contradictory figure, Scirocco shows us the pacifist who spent much of his life fighting; the nationalist who advocated European unification; the republican who served a king; and the man who, although compared by contemporaries to Aeneas and Odysseus, refused honors and wealth and spent his last years as a farmer.


"Hailed as 'the Hero of Two Worlds' for his exploits in South America and in Europe, Garibaldi must have become the most famous person on the planet. Alfonso Scirocco has written an old-fashioned biography with a strong narrative, vivid battle scenes, and confident characterization. Scirocco's portrait of Garibaldi, 'an idealist without ideologies,' is attractive and fair...detailed and useful."--David Gilmour, New York Review of Books

"Alfonso Scirocco's Garibaldi is distinctly old-fashioned in approach. But as a traditional biography it is very good, and has the traditional virtues. It is well written and extremely well translated by Allan Cameron, it is up to date on the huge Garibaldi literature, it has plenty of illuminating detail, and it pays a proper regard to his early life and South American experiences."--Martin Clark, Times Literary Supplement

"Alfonso Scirocco's Garibaldi: Citizen of the World...[is a] standard biography...Scirocco reminds us that the man behind the myth generally lived up to his billing in a manner that was matched by few of his counterparts--then or now."--Dianne N. Labrosse, Montreal Gazette

"A fine biography for all drawn to Garibaldi's heroic role in Italy's Risorgimento."--Gilbert Taylor, Booklist

"Garibaldi: Citizen of the World, by Italian historian Alfonso Scirocco, is the traditional bio that tells you who Garibaldi was, what he did, and why he is revered...Scirocco narrates Garibaldi's life with appropriate respect, if not reverence...After finishing Scirocco's account of Garibaldi's life, the great insurgent emerges as traditionally understood: enormously admirable, patriotic, nonmaterialistic, generous, a charismatic leader who typicallly refused honors."--Carlin Romano, Philadelphia Inquirer

"[An] enthralling biography...[Garibaldi's] story remains remarkable and inspiring."--Allan Massie, Spectator

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