Excerpt from 54 by Wu Ming, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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by Wu Ming

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  • Published:
    Jul 2006, 560 pages

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Desert the Italian army, our people will be glad to help you! Give your weapons and ammunition to the partisans and the Popular Defence.

Join the Slovenian partisan units and help them, guns in hand, to bring to an early conclusion the absurd butchery of war, so that you can very soon return to your homes, to your poor abandoned mothers, wives and children, and establish a true sovereignty of the people in your own homeland.

Long live the common struggle of all peoples against fascist barbarism!

Long live the ussr and its invincible red army, the most powerful defender of freedom and progress!

Long live stalin, the leader of the people and workers in all countries!

Long live the Communist Party of Yugoslavia!
Long live stalin, the leader of the people and workers in all countries!

Long live the Communist Party of Yugoslavia!

Death to fascism – freedom to the people!

Central Committee of theCommunist Party of Slovenia

Someone had written ‘SMRT FAŠISMU’in red paint on the peeling wall.

The men had been lined up in front of it.
Their faces were blank. Closed, absent. Like the windows of the village.
The captain yelled orders at the unit. The Italian soldiers assumed their positions, rifles shouldered. Almost all of them reservists. The officer was the youngest, with a well-trimmed moustache and a grey garrison cap tilted on his forehead.
The condemned men raised their eyes to look their butchers in the face. To be certain that they were men like themselves. They were used to death, even their own, they had grown accustomed to it over thousands of generations.
On the other side eyes lowered, reflected sensations.

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Copyright © 2002 Giulio Einaudi editore s.p.a., Torino
Translation copyright © Shaun Whiteside 2005

The partial or total reproduction of this publication, in electronic form or otherwise, is consented to for noncommercial purposes, provided that the original copyright notice and this notice are included and the publisher and the source and this notice are included and the publisher and the source are clearly acknowledged. Any reproduction or use of all or a portion of this publication in exchange for financial consideration of any kind is prohibited without permission in writing from the publisher.

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