On January 29, 2017 Elliot Sperling, a great scholar of Tibet, a strong supporter of the Tibetan cause and a friend of mine, passed away. I was lucky enough to spent some time with him at Harvard – where he taught Tibetan Studies, and I remember him as a wonderful man, humble, honest, and generous. While I was writing L’esploratore del Duce, and then Mussolini’s Explorer, he sent me a couple of books and numberless suggestions and clarifications on Tibet. Elliot Sperling thought that it was impossible to know its civilization without reading Tucci’s work.
It’s a real loss for everybody, not only the academic world, but also all the people devoted to human rights.
A propos of Giuseppe Tucci, the main character of my book Mussolini’s Explorer, and his supposed antisemitism, on this International Holocaust Remembrance Day: Tucci was a nationalist and a spokesperson of Fascism in India and Japan, however, he was not anti-Semitic.
The Jewish German psychologist Ernst Bernhard, in his book Mitobiografia (Adelphi 1969 and Bompiani 1977), talking of a premonition dream he had in 1935, writes that in 1941 Tucci saved him from being deported to a Nazi concentration camp from a Fascist camp in Calabria. Thanks to Tucci, Bernhard was able to go back to Rome and live hidden at home.
Giuseppe Tucci and Mussolini, Gandhi, Tagore, the XIV Dalai Lama, and the gurus, scholars, and politicians who wrote the History of the 20th century.
One could hardly imagine a richer and more exciting life than that of Giuseppe Tucci (1894-1984), a scholar who may rightly be considered one of the fathers of modern Oriental Studies and the central protagonist of Fascist cultural policy in Asia. From his first expeditions from the Himalayas to the Ganges, to his encounters with leaders such as Gandhi, Tagore, the Dalai Lama, Subhas Chandra Bose, to his role as Mussolini’s spokesman in India and Japan—Tucci’s is a human adventure tied inextricably to the history of modern Italy, which he himself helped to forge. An adventure retraced in the pages of this book that reads like an adventure novel.
L’esploratore del Duce, the Italian full version of Mussolini’s Explorer: The Adventures of Giuseppe Tucci and Italian Policy in the Orient from Mussolini to Andreotti. With the Correspondence of Giulio Andreotti (Vol. 1), has given national recognition in the 49th Premio Acqui Storia prize. It was shortlisted in the History Scientific Session and the reading panel of 60 members awarded it a special plaque as the most read history book. Thanks!
Here you can read the full report of the ceremony held in Acqui Terme on Saturday, October 15, 2016. It includes the photos of some VIPs. Below the picture of all the prizewinners and my plaque.
Mussolini's Explorer: The Adventures of Giuseppe Tucci and Italian Policy in the Orient from Mussolini to Andreotti on Amazon
Great book dedicated to one of the most important.. (by Umberto Mondini)
Great book dedicated to one of the most important, fascinating and mysterious men of Italian culture: Giuseppe Tucci. I agree with Paul Arpaia, Professor of History, Indiana University of Pennsylvania when he writes” Few scholars today have Garzilli’s enormous breadth to weave together Tucci s contributions in history, linguistics, archeology, philosophy and anthropology under Fascist Italy and the Italian Republic”.
In a word: splendid! (by Krishnadt)
When the mailman delivered to me this first volume of the monumental Garzilli’s 9 vols. work on the great Italian orientalist Giuseppe Tucci, I remember I was eager to read it as soon as possible. But, alas!, several work commitments kept me far from my intentions… since last week!
I’ve therefore taken my time to go with the due attention through all its pages: introduction, photographic material, the two main chapters (one dealing with Tucci’s youth and the other with his expeditions in Asia and the figure of Carlo Formichi) and even the bibliography.
Well… I’ve literally devoured it!!
As an enthusiast of Oriental studies and as an Italian, I’ve since ever been interested in Tucci’s life and works. Yet, if his books and articles still are at our disposal, for obvious reasons his file is not, and only one who knew him and his friends, acquaintances and colleagues in person, one like Enrica Garzilli, can better tell us the many facets of Tucci’s character: not only the international scholar, but also the Italian professor, the adventurer, the husband, the play-boy… in a word, that incredible man he was, loved by some, loathed by others.
The true spirit of Garzilli’s book, I must say, lies in the fact that it’s not a mere collection of episodes of Tucci’s life or a, so to speak, simple research concerned with what Tucci did, where he went, whom he met with. Not at all! This book, on the contrary, is an actual landscape. Garzilli, page after page, while thoroughly expounding the results of her delving into documents and direct witnesses, accompanies us into Tucci’s world.
Mussolini's Explorer: The Adventures of Giuseppe Tucci and Italian Policy in the Orient from Mussolini to Andreotti. With the Correspondence of Giulio Andreotti. (Volume 1)
We had to change the title of Il Duce’s Explorer into Mussolini’s Explorer: The Adventures of Giuseppe Tucci and Italian Policy in the Orient from Mussolini to Andreotti. With the Correspondence of Giulio Andreotti. (Volume 1).
Here are the endorsements of Paul Arpaia, Professor of History at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Sumit Guha, Professor of History at The University of Texas at Austin, and Michael Witzel, Wales Prof. of Sanskrit at Harvard University.
“Enrica Garzilli’s compelling biography of Giuseppe Tucci reconstructs the life of Fascism in Asia and of preeminent explorer-scholar who traveled widely in India, Tibet, Nepal, Afghanistan, Japan, Pakistan and Iran. Few scholars today have Garzilli’s enormous breadth to weave together Tucci s contributions in history, linguistics, archeology, philosophy and anthropology under Fascist Italy and the Italian Republic.”
–Paul Arpaia, Professor of History, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
“As Italy takes up arms and Mussolini sets his eye on supplanting the British Crown a fact elegantly and rigorously uncovered by Garzilli in these pages Giuseppe Tucci manages to maneuver his way through the treacherous landscapes of the Himalayas and of Fascist politics to emerge as the country’s foremost scholar and archaeologist of the Orient. His achievement is monumental, and Garzilli’s monumental biography brings him joyously to life, through archival documents, personal letters, travelogues, lectures, interviews, articles, photographs, films, and her own tireless travels. Here is a hunt in search of a hunter.”
–Michael Witzel, Wales Prof. of Sanskrit, Harvard University
“Giuseppe Tucci has long been known as a foundational figure in the European discovery of India and Tibet as well as founder of IsMEO. This exhaustive new biographical study tells us much more about the academic side of his achievements, but also about his little-known collaborations with Mussolini and his sponsorship of Indian luminaries’ visits to Fascist Italy. It will be indispensable for anyone seeking a complete understanding of Orientalist enterprises in the early twentieth century.”
–Sumit Guha, Professor of History, The University of Texas at Austin
On the Holocaust Memorial Day, dedicated to the Shoah, I would like to clarify the position of Tucci on racism and anti-Semitism. The issue has sparked much controversy in the Roman Jewish community, in Italian media and at parliamentary level, when on May 25, 2010, a widening in Rome was named Largo Giuseppe Tucci in his honor.
The Manifesto of Racist Scientists or Manifesto of Race was published in Il Giornale d’Italia (Newspaper of Italy) on July 15, 1938. Later on were given the names of ten scientists who had “prepared or supported” the document. One of them, professor Nicola Pende, director of the Institute of Special Medical Pathology at the University of Rome, a few months later denied having given his support.
On the Internet and was picked up by some journalists a list of public figures – all men – that would be deployed publicly in favor of the “Manifesto of Race”. Among them politicians, distinguished intellectuals, cartoonists, physiscians, journalists, and Giuseppe Tucci.
The Declaration of Race was approved by the Grand Council of Fascism on October 6, 1938 and a few days after it was published in the Paper of the National Fascist Party (PNF). King Vittorio Emanuele III, under Mussolini proposal, along with the ministers of Foreign Affairs, of Justice, of Finance, and of Corporations, on November 17, 1938 approved a which established the Measures for the Defense of the Italian Race.
Racial discrimination occurred in both public and private sectors and in the education of children born to Jewish relatives: evil should be extinghuished from the start. Finally, the Royal Law of November, 15 1938- XVII integrated and coordinated in a single text the rules for the defense of race in Italian schools. They were hard rules, which, among other things, separated Jewish children in special sections of the school “in places where the number was not less than ten children”, and forbade Jewish adults to obtain the license to teach at university and to become members “of academies, institutes and associations of science, literature and arts. In 1939 Il Duce also established that Jews could not be teachers, notary public, and journalist, and were established special sets of rules for the other professions.