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Il Duce's Explorer: The Adventures of Giuseppe Tucci and Italian Policy in the Orient from Mussolini to Andreotti. With the Correspondence of Giulio Andreotti, v. 1 is out!

Those of you who pursue studies in the History of Religions, Italian History, Tibetan Buddhism, History of Asian Art, International Politics, Asian Archaeology – and those of you who would like to know a bit more on Giuseppe Tucci, the visits of Gandhi, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tagore, and Subhas Chandra Bose in Italy, and Italian Fascism in India, Afghanistan, and Japan – may wish to read the book just published Il Duce’s Explorer. The Adventures of Giuseppe Tucci and Italian Policy in the Orient from Mussolini to Andreotti. With the Correspondence of Giulio Andreotti, authored by Enrica Garzilli.

This is the 1st out of 9 volumes. This book is the revised and enlarged translation of the omonimous Italian book (1st ed. Memori-Asiatica, Aug. 2012; 3rd ed. April 2014). I want to thank Todd Portnowitz, the translator, who did an excellent job.
Here is a description of the book and a Table of Contents.

Il duce explorer cover vol 1

When the capital of Tibet was still the mythical “Forbidden City”, a mysterious destination for the most adventurous explorers, when Nepal was covered with forests and swamps, swarming with dangerous beasts and forbidden to foreigners, when Italy was ruled by the Fascist regime greedily eyeing potential colonial possessions in Asia, a learned and adventurous man, the perfect embodiment of that era’s virile ideals, entered places where no Western man had before set foot: crossing glittering peaks of snow, desolate deserts and ruins of ancient cities, constantly challenging himself, he discovered archaeological treasures from past civilizations.Even today, in the East as well as in the West, the name of this intrepid Italian explorer and insatiable researcher is cloaked in an aura of legend.

One could hardly imagine a richer and more exciting life than that of Giuseppe Tucci (1894-1984), the scholar who may quite rightly be considered one of the fathers of modern Oriental Studies and a central protagonist of Fascist cultural policy in Asia: from his first expeditions to the valleys of the Himalayas and the plains of the Ganges, to his diplomatic activity in Japan as spokesman for the Duce; from his encounters with scholars and leaders such as Gandhi, Tagore, the XIV Dalai Lama, Mircea Eliade and Giovanni Gentile, who was his great protector together with Giulio Andreotti, to the archaeological excavations in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran in more recent years; a human and intellectual adventure inextricably linked to the history of modern Italy, which he himself helped to forge.

An adventure that can be traced in the pages of this book, where the pace of a thrilling narrative combines with the scientific and historical reconstruction of the Fascist policy in Asia, and of Tucci’s precious creation, the powerful Italian Institute for the Middle and Far East. A history based on eyewitness accounts and historical documents, such as the original and unpublished correspondence between Tucci and Andreotti, Gandhi, Tagore, the XIV Dalai Lama, Mircea Eliade, Giovanni Gentile, the Raj Guru of Nepal, and the historian D. R. Regmi, and the previously unknown notes of Mussolini. An adventure retraced in the pages of this book that reads like an adventure novel.

CONTENTS OF VOLUME 1

1 Index of Maps in Volume 1
xxiii Index of Figures in Volume 1
xxv Preface to the English Edition
xxix Introduction
xxxi Acknowledgements
lxv Note on the Text

I From Youth to the First Voyage: Enlightened by the Buddha

Initial Contact with Gentile and First Publications
A Frenzy of Publications
Buddha Smiles upon Him
The Guru
Gazing East
The Scientist, the Explorer
Hunting for Texts: Originality or Tradition?

II The Seed of His Great Expeditions

Carlo Formichi, the Teacher’s Teacher
In Śāntiniketan
Two Differing Accounts of India
Dhaka, Benares, Calcutta, and Il Duce’s Gift
Tagore Visits Italy: Between Nationalism and Orientalism
With Captain Ghersi: Formichi’s Expedition in Nepal
The Skies of the Himalayas and the Kathmandu Valley
Letter to the Royal Preceptor
«Benito Mussolini’s Message Bearer»
Sharp-witted, Perspicacious, and Greedy

Index of Epigraphs
Chronology of Giuseppe Tucci
Bibliography of Giuseppe Tucci
Bibliography
Notes
The Translator
The Author

INDEX OF MAPS IN VOLUME 1
1 Some of the places visited by Giuseppe Tucci in India in 1925–1955

INDEX OF FIGURES IN VOLUME 1
1 Giuseppe Tucci in Gu-ge, sPu-rang-rdzong (Taklakot), July 3, 1935
2 Giuseppe Tucci in Macerata, 1902
3 Giuseppe Tucci in Macerata, 1907
4 Giuseppe Tucci during World War I, 1915–1918
5 Giuseppe Tucci reading, Rome, 1919
6 A young Tucci in Italy
7 Giuseppe Tucci near a chorten, India, 1926–30
8 Giuseppe Tucci (ed.), La Karpūramañjarī. Dramma pracrito volto in italiano, front cover, 1922
9 Giuseppe Tucci (ed.), Saggezza Cinese. Scelta di massime – parabole – leggende, front cover, 1926
10 Giuseppe Tucci, Il Buddhismo, front cover, 1926
11 Ermenegilda Tucci Firmani and Oscar Tucci, Giuseppe’s parents, with Ananda Maria in Macerata, ca. 1926–28
12 Ermenegilda Tucci Firmani and Oscar Tucci, Giuseppe’s parents, with Ananda Maria in Macerata, ca. 1927–29
13 Ermenegilda Tucci Firmani and Oscar Tucci, Giuseppe’s parents, with their grandson Ananda Maria in Macerata, ca. 1927–29
14 Ananda Maria Tucci at age 15-17
15 Ananda Maria Tucci at age 18-20
16 Ananda Maria Tucci and his wife Bice Tucci Pascali in the Fifties
17 Giuseppe Tucci in Bengal with a local, 1926–27
18 Tucci’s second wife Giulia Nuvoloni and the caravan in Tibet or Ladakh, ca. 1928–1939
19 Illuminated Tibetan manuscripts photographed during the 1931 Expedition
20 Giuseppe Tucci and his wife Giulia Tucci Nuvoloni (1889–1992) during the 1931 Expedition
21 Giuseppe Tucci and his caravan at the Zoji pass, 1931 Expedition
22 Image of a thangka representing Milarepa (mi la ras pa, 1051–1135) photographed during the 1931 Expedition
23 Carlo Formichi (1871-1943) standing. Originally published in 1944
24 Sanskrit letter by Carlo Formichi to the Royal Preceptor of Nepal, Hem Raj Sharma, December 8, 1933
25 Gandhi at the Sala delle Armi (Weapons Room) in Palazzo Venezia after his meeting with Benito Mussolini, Rome, 1931
26 Gandhi reviews the Marinaretti (Young Sailors of the Fascist Youth Organization) of the Caio Duilio legion during his visit to Italy, 1931
27 Giuseppe Tucci and his Tibetan mastif, Chankù, in Rome, 1934
28 Traditional palanquin
29 Giuseppe Tucci, Tra giungle e pagode, front cover, 1953
30 Giuseppe Tucci (ed.), Le civiltà dell’Oriente, vol. 1, front cover, 1956-1962
31 Giuseppe Tucci, «Letteratura tibetana», in Le civiltà dell’Oriente, vol. 1, 1956-1962, p. 787
32 Giuseppe Tucci, «Letteratura tibetana», in Le civiltà dell’Oriente, 1956-1962, p. 783
33 Giuseppe Tucci, Tibetan Painted Scrolls, spine and front cover, vol. 2, 1949
34 Giuseppe Tucci, Storia della ˡlosoˡa indiana, front cover, 1957
35 L’Illustrazione Italiana, front cover, Autunno 1974
36 Giuseppe Tucci, «L’“incompiuta” divinità Khmer di Ca’ Pesaro», in L’Illustrazione Italiana, Autunno 1974, p. 4
37 Giuseppe Tucci, «L’“incompiuta” divinità Khmer di Ca’ Pesaro», in L’Illustrazione Italiana, Autunno 1974, p. 4
38 The Author in front of Tucci’s home in Macerata

Happy Reading!

The Author

Enrica Garzilli Enrica Garzilli is a scholar of classical and modern Asia. Harvard Alumna, she holds a degree in Sanskrit and Indology from the Oriental School in Rome, where she studied with Tucci’s most famous disciples. She has taught in leading Universities, and regularly publishes in national and international newspapers, magazines, and TV.

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