Fraser M. Ottanelli, of the University of South Florida, presented on February 28 his new, co-authored book, Assassins against the Old Order: Italian Anarchist Violence in Fin de Siècle Europe (University of Illinois Press, 2018).
The image of the anarchist assassin haunted the popular European imagination in the late nineteenth century. Fear spawned a gross but persistent stereotype: a swarthy “Italian” carrying a bloody knife or revolver and bred to violence by radical politics, madness, innate criminality, and poor genes. The late Nunzio Pernicone and his co-author Fraser M. Ottanelli have dug into the historical, social, cultural, and political conditions behind the phenomenon of anarchist violence in Italy. Looking at political assassinations in the 1890s, they illuminate in this book the public effort to equate anarchy’s goals with violent overthrow.