The Pike by Lucy Hughes-Hallett

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It all makes a splendid subject for a biography, although since he wrote constantly in his notebooks, there is a surfeit of material and at times this biography sags slightly as it tries to make sense of such a well-recorded life.
-Guardian

Synopsis

WINNER OF THE 2013 SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION The story of Gabriele D'Annunzio, poet, daredevil - and Fascist. In September 1919 Gabriele D'Annunzio, successful poet and occasional politician, declared himself Commandante of the city of Fiume in modern-day Croatia. His intention - to establish a utopia based on his fascist and artistic ideals. It was the dramatic pinnacle to an outrageous career. Lucy Hughes-Hallett charts the controversial life of D'Annunzio, the debauched artist who became a national hero. His evolution from idealist Romantic to radical right-wing revolutionary is a political parable. Through his ideological journey, culminating in the failure of the Fiume endeavour, we witness the political turbulence of early 20th-century Europe and the emergence of fascism. In The Pike, Hughes-Hallett addresses the cult of nationalism and the origins of political extremism - and at the centre of the book stands the charismatic D'Annunzio: a figure as deplorable as he is fascinating.
 

About Lucy Hughes-Hallett

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Lucy Hughes-Hallett is the author of Cleopatra: Histories, Dreams and Distortions which was published in 1990 to wide acclaim, and Heroes: Saviours, Traitors and Supermen, published in 2004, which garnered similar praise. Cleopatra won the Fawcett Prize and the Emily Toth Award. Lucy Hughes-Hallett reviews for the SUNDAY TIMES. She lives in London.
 
Published August 20, 2013 by Anchor. 705 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, War, Literature & Fiction, Political & Social Sciences. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Pike
All: 4 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Sheri Berman on Aug 30 2013

Despite her ostensible emphasis on politics, Hughes-Hallett spends little time discussing or analyzing actual political events or trends, focusing more on d’Annunzio’s admittedly remarkable personal life. The picture she paints is unedifying.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Thomas Jones on Feb 22 2013

He must have managed it somehow, because they landed safely back in Venice. D'Annunzio "had embarked on his new life as national hero", Lucy Hughes-Hallett writes in her enthralling new biography of the "poet, seducer and preacher of war".

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Ian Birrell on Feb 03 2013

It all makes a splendid subject for a biography, although since he wrote constantly in his notebooks, there is a surfeit of material and at times this biography sags slightly as it tries to make sense of such a well-recorded life.

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The Economist

Excellent
on Jan 12 2013

Her style is rich, ironic and pugnacious; she jousts willingly with him and the reader becomes a spectator of this subtle and fascinating contest.

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