by Andrea Berrini
translation by Joan Rundo
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In the early months of 1947, 2000 workers from the Monfalcone shipyard and aircraft factory in Italy resigned from their stable jobs and set off for Fiume. They went not because of necessity, but of choice. They were going to build Marshall Tito’s new Socialist Yugoslavia. They were going to construct Socialism in the post-war climate of a Europe where countries were re-positioning and jockeying for new geographic frontiers amidst a new order.
They went in small groups, like gusts of wind. Brothers, cousins, childhood friends… day after day, they made their way towards Fiume. Together they had lived through the Fascist dictatorship of Italy, the war and the occupation of neighboring Slovenia and Dalmatia. Many had fought with the partisans. They were now going to create a new world.
Two years later, the bulk of them returned. Heads hung low. Disillusioned. Silent. Shunned by the Italian community and seen as traitors for their adventure, they continued their lives in silence for the next 50 years.
With the help of others, Andrea Berrini took it upon himself to unlock the silence of that age through face-to-face interviews, documents and oral histories with the protagonists of those times. In so doing, Andrea has reignited the passions, the fears and the machinations which drove those men in their search to build a community where common workers would not be exploited. This book that has emerged enables comparisons with men and women from other parts of the world who had offered their lives for causes that sprung from the heart—for community and the new societies they hoped to build after a chaotic war which had reset the world they had hitherto known.
About the Author
Andrea Berrini is a 60-year old writer and the publisher of Metropoli d’Asia. He started writing short stories and essays at the end of the 80s, collaborating with the most important literary magazines and journals in Italy, as well as writing reports for the mainstream Italian press. He has published four books: L'Anima dei Bulldozer (a report on the slums of Kenya's capital town, Nairobi); Storie Africane (a collection of short stories about people in villages and cities in Tanzania, a country where he lived for almost two years); Quattrini (portraits of people engaged in microcredit projects around the world); and Noi Siamo La Classe Operaia, whose English translation is now being published as A Far Better Thing I Do… The 2000 from Monfalcone by Ethos Books in Singapore.
Berrini is also a businessman most actively engaged, amongst other businesses, in microfinance. He is also currently working on a book about Asian contemporary writers.
“Berrini writes with a strong sense of immediacy, allowing his readers to feel as if they are actually sitting next to Fioravante and listening to his accounts. This description is not as objective as, say, an official report, but it captures the emotions and the atmosphere of the interviews in a very precise manner.”
– Emily Chow, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal
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Dimension: 145mm x 210mm