In Hollywood, Cary Grant has grown weary of cinema's constant glamour, but Her Majesty's Secret Service will break his malaise with a bizarre diplomatic mission. In Naples, Lucky Luciano fixes horse races and launches the global heroin trade. And in Bologna, a bartender searches for true love and his missing communist father.
Set during the height of the Cold War - with the world divided into East and West - 54 features Italian partisans, KGB agents, Parisian lowlifes, and cameos by David Niven, Marshal Tito, and Grace Kelly. Wu Ming brings us a cinematic romp that is by turns edgy social satire and modern comic send up.
The Yugoslavian front, spring 1943
The Slovenian people have launched an inexorable struggle against the occupying forces. Many of your comrades have already fallen in that struggle. And you will go on falling day after day, night after night, for as long as you remain tools in the hands of our oppressors, and until Slovenia is liberated.
Your leaders will lead you to believe that the Slovenian people love you, that you are being attacked only by tiny numbers of communists. This is an insolent lie. All Slovenes are in accord with the struggle against the occupying forces. Under the leadership of the Slovenian National Liberation Committee, our entire people has organised itself into a single invincible liberation front.
Your superiors are concealing from you the desperate situation into which Mussolini has hurled the Italian Empire by selling it to Hitler. They are hiding from you the ...
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (984 words).
To appreciate the complicated comings and goings in 54 it would be best
to have some understanding of the context in which the book is set. Today,
Trieste is a charming Italian city bordering Slovenia (formerly Yugoslavia) on
the Adriatic Sea, home to a wide mix of cultures (map
of Trieste), but in 1954 it was at the center of a Cold War quandary - what
to do with this little city-state caught in the power struggle between East and
Over the centuries Trieste became an important trade hub. It was constituted a free port by Emperor Charles VI (Holy Roman Emperor from 1711-1740) in 1719 and remained thus until 1891. It lost much of its autonomy during the Napoleonic Wars when it was occupied three ...
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