A modern history of Trieste: Background information when reading 54

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

54

by Wu Ming

54 by Wu Ming X
54 by Wu Ming
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Jul 2006, 560 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team
Buy This Book

About this Book

A modern history of Trieste

This article relates to 54

Print Review

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 West? 

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 times (eventually being returned to the Austrian Empire in 1813) but continued to prosper as the Imperial Free City of Trieste and was an important commercial port and shipbuilding center.  

At the turn of the 20th century it was a popular city on the "Austrian Riviera". Triestine (a Venetian dialect) was the primary language spoken by the people of the city, German was spoken by the Austrian bureaucracy and Slovenian was the language of the surrounding villages.

In 1920, following the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian empire, Trieste was transferred to Italy, with some negative consequences, firstly, the city was reduced to a border town without a proper hinterland and the Slovenian part of the population (about 25%) were suppressed by the Italian Fascist regime. 

When the Italian Social Republic was constituted in 1943, Trieste was nominally considered part of it.  However, the Germans annexed it (setting up the only extermination camp on Italian soil near Trieste), and the city suffered from partisan activity and Allied bombardments.  In April 1945 Italian anti-fascists incited a revolt against the Nazis, and in April, Yugoslav partisans from Tito's army occupied most of Trieste and, with the help of New Zealand forces that arrived shortly after, successfully took the city on May 2nd.  However, the Yugoslavs were forced by the New Zealanders to leave the city the following month after aggravating the local population (firing on pro-Italian demonstrators, arresting members of the Italian democratic resistance force, etc). 

In 1947 Trieste became an independent state as the Free Territory of Trieste, but the state was dissolved in 1954 when the city was officially annexed by Italy on October 26, with the southern part of the territory going to Yugoslavia (now Slovenia).

Filed under Places, Cultures & Identities

This article relates to 54. It first ran in the August 17, 2006 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Mystery of Mrs. Christie
    The Mystery of Mrs. Christie
    by Marie Benedict
    The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict, notable author of previous historical fiction such ...
  • Book Jacket: To Be a Man
    To Be a Man
    by Nicole Krauss
    While, as its title hints, To Be a Man by Nicole Krauss is concerned with masculinity, it renders a ...
  • Book Jacket: The Office of Historical Corrections
    The Office of Historical Corrections
    by Danielle Evans
    In The Office of Historical Corrections, the second story collection from Danielle Evans, readers ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Dutch House
    by Ann Patchett

    The Dutch House is my introduction to Ann Patchett, which, after reading it, surprises me. I had ...


Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    At the Edge of the Haight
    by Katherine Seligman

    Winner of the 2019 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction.

    Reader Reviews
  • Book Jacket

    The Fortunate Ones
    by Ed Tarkington

    An engrossing story of class, love, and loyalty for fans of Kevin Wilson's Nothing to See Here.

    Reader Reviews
Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Moment of Lift
by Melinda Gates
How can we summon a moment of lift for women? Because when you lift up women, you lift up humanity.
Who Said...

Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

T M T C, T M T Stay T S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.