By Donna Leon
Commissario Guido Brunetti of the Venice Questura is stunned to listen to that Brett Lynch, a chum in view that a homicide case at los angeles Fenice, has suffered a savage beating. The assault, within the appealing palazzo domestic of Flavia Petrelli, reigning diva of los angeles Scala, had include a message: 'Don't maintain that appointment with Dottor Semenzato.' Then, with the hurricane clouds collecting quick over the town, a man's physique is located ...
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It was a 'genome' that could either develop or merely tick over, either fully assert itself or waste away. We shall see it at work. But it seems to me that Togliatti's initial interpretation of Gramsci was neither false nor groundless. For the driving force behind the Notebooks really is critical and self-critical reflection on the causes and consequences of the failure of revolution in the Western coun tries - in which he, like Lenin, had believed. Among the Marxists of his time, he was the only one who did not explain this failure only in terms of Social Democratic betrayal or the weakness and errors of the Communists; nor did he conclude at all that the Russian Revolution had been immature, and its consolidation in a state mi sguided.
The failure to put together a convincing account of its causes, significance and results is hardly surprising in itself. The generation that lived through it soon measured the scale of the tragedy: millions upon millions killed or crippled, economies in ruin, states and empires dissolved; nearly every layer of society was hit, together with certainties and cultures that had appeared impregnable. If the surprise was so great for everyone, it is because the causes and responsibilities remained unclear: no economic or social crisis had been impelling a military conflict on such a scale and at such a cost; the coloni al division of the world had been more or less sealed b y agreement; a n d the u n deniable struggl for h eg mony am ong th grea t power nd t h n ol< 'Y· had b n pr d i 1 o n h t rr in ) f f i na n • THE LEGACY 23 Although the dominant classes had for some time been engaged in high-profile rearmament, they neither expected nor wanted a world war, their alliances were casual and contradictory, and they were reluctant until the end to take irrevocable action.
Fascism later secured funding from the employ ers a n d co m p l i c i ty from the Guardie Regie (founded in 1 9 1 9 as a re pre ssi ve state force), at a time when the Church had j ust signed a pact w i th the Liberals and, within the Catholic world, was k eeping a wa tc h fu l eye on Stu rzo and his newly founded Partito Popola re I t a l i a n o . F a sc i s m t h u s pre s ented itself as a guarantee of or lcr i n t b l ast i ns t a nce. I t even t u a l l y c a m e to power in a non '1 1 1 ·rg n ·y s i t ua t i o n , b y ro y a l a p J.
Acqua Alta (Commissario Brunetti, Book 5) by Donna Leon