recent attack on Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi in Milan. The attack broke two teeth and fractured the media mogul's nose.
Italy and its culture are very close to my heart, but this nation does not have a very good track record when it comes to governing itself. And for all the soaring wonders of Italian art, literature and opera, the pop music utterly sucks.
British journalist Tobias Jones captured these contradictions, as well as the insularity and xenophobia that lays behind the charm, in a book which became a success d' scandale. HERE is my review of the sharply written "The Dark Heart of Italy."
As with Barzini's "The Italians," which is very much about Mussolini -- those chapters are laugh-out-loud funny, by the way -- this book is about culture and society (especially of the north and Emilia-Romagna in specific) but with Berlusconi's power and corruption sitting at its center.