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Wednesday, June 5, 2013
My book launch in Italy
As I mentioned before, I was in Gorizia, Italy, for the ninth annual èStoria Festival. This history/book fair is hosted by my Italian publisher, who recently came out with these Italian-language editions of two of my books. For three days, a park in Gorizia was filled with tents. Several book dealers set up shop and the other tents were given over for talks and panels.
The theme this year was Bandits, and I was on a panel about Jesse James. I was the only non-Italian in the room but luckily they provided me with a translator. This guy was amazing. He grew up speaking four languages and went on to learn a dozen more. He gave a simultaneous translation so seamless it almost felt like the other panelists were speaking two languages at the same time.
My fellow panelists were a historian, a journalist, and a philosopher, and so we were an eclectic bunch. I gave a talk on "Jesse James, Inc.", on how the James legend was commodified even in his own lifetime.
The others put him in the context of the greater theme of banditry, and compared him with some of the famous bandits of southern Italy. Italian unification in the 19th century was mostly led by northern Italians, and while the southern Italians went along with it, there was some grumbling over the loss of independence. Some bandits took advantage of this by branding themselves rebels as well as thieves. Hmmm. . .sounds familiar.
I managed to slip away to do some sightseeing as well. Hit the link above about Gorizia to learn about this interesting town on the border with Slovenia. I also went to visit the Isonzo World War One battlefield.
I had a great time and hope to go back some other year. After the festival I headed over to Slovenia for a week. I'll be starting a series on Gadling this week about that.