Luigi Barzini, Jr.
Luigi Barzini Jr. was an Italian
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 journalist, writer and politician most famous for his 1964 book The Italians, delving deeply into the Italian national character and introducing many Anglo-Saxon readers to Italian life and culture.

Early life

Barzini junior was born in Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

, Lombardy
Lombardy is one of the 20 regions of Italy. The capital is Milan. One-sixth of Italy's population lives in Lombardy and about one fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in this region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest in the whole of Europe...

, the son of Luigi Barzini, Sr.
Luigi Barzini, Sr.
Luigi Barzini Sr was an Italian journalist, war correspondent and fascist politician.-Biography:Born at Orvieto, Barzini started his career as a journalist in 1898, working for minor Italian magazines and was almost immediately noticed and hired by Luigi Albertini, then director of the Corriere...

, a famous journalist. In the 1920s, his father left the Corriere della Sera
Corriere della Sera
The Corriere della Sera is an Italian daily newspaper, published in Milan.It is among the oldest and most reputable Italian newspapers. Its main rivals are Rome's La Repubblica and Turin's La Stampa.- History :...

 and moved to the United States, where he directed the Italian-American newspaper Corriere d'America from 1923 to 1931.

After completing his studies in Italy and at Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

, Barzini Jr. worked for two New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 newspapers, including the New York World
New York World
The New York World was a newspaper published in New York City from 1860 until 1931. The paper played a major role in the history of American newspapers...

. In 1928, together with Richard Washburn Child
Richard Washburn Child
Richard Washburn Child was an American author and diplomat.-Early life and career:Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, Child went to Harvard University and Law School where he graduated in 1906 to become a business lawyer...

, former Ambassador to Italy and a supporter of Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

, he ghostwrote The Autobiography of Benito Mussolini. He returned to Italy in 1930 to become a correspondent for Corriere della Sera.

His father had pro-Fascist
Italian Fascism
Italian Fascism also known as Fascism with a capital "F" refers to the original fascist ideology in Italy. This ideology is associated with the National Fascist Party which under Benito Mussolini ruled the Kingdom of Italy from 1922 until 1943, the Republican Fascist Party which ruled the Italian...

 sentiments and had access to highest political circles of Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

. Luigi Jr., however, frequently associated with young dissidents around Galeazzo Ciano
Galeazzo Ciano
Gian Galeazzo Ciano, 2nd Count of Cortellazzo and Buccari was an Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Benito Mussolini's son-in-law. In early 1944 Count Ciano was shot by firing squad at the behest of his father-in-law, Mussolini under pressure from Nazi Germany.-Early life:Ciano was born in...

, the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs
Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs
As in most countries, in Italy the Minister of Foreign Affairs, which is the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is one of the most important ministerial positions...

 and Mussolini's son-in-law.

Panay Incident

As the Corriere della Sera Asian correspondent, he went to China. On December 11, 1937, he was aboard the USS Panay
USS Panay (PR-5)
|-External links:* * *...

 on the Yangtze Patrol in Nanking at the prompting of George Atcheson, a U.S. Embassy official. Also aboard were Universal News cameraman Norman Alley, Movietone News’ Eric Mayell, the New York Timess Norman Soong, Collier's Weekly
Collier's Weekly
Collier's Weekly was an American magazine founded by Peter Fenelon Collier and published from 1888 to 1957. With the passage of decades, the title was shortened to Collier's....

 correspondent Jim Marshall
Jim Marshall
Jim Marshall may refer to:*Jim Marshall , Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives*Jim E...

, and La Stampa
La Stampa
La Stampa is one of the best-known, most influential and most widely sold Italian daily newspapers. Published in Turin, it is distributed in Italy and other European nations. The current owner is the Fiat Group.-History:...

 correspondent Sandro Sandri. Atcheson had invited them aboard the Panay so that they could document the fall of the city from relative safety. The four journalists had been covering the ongoing Japanese invasion of China in the mid-1930s, and found themselves in the thick of things in early December 1937 as Japanese forces moved on Nanking.

According to Alley, writing in his memoir I Witness, Atcheson proclaimed that aboard the gunboat the group would be "as safe as you would be on good old American soil." Little did any of them know that in just a week’s time, the Panay would be attacked and sunk, Sandri killed, and that they would witness the Rape of Nanking.

During the attack Barzini, although wounded, performed heroically helping to bring the wounded ashore and providing first aid to the best of his ability. As Sandri, known as "the Floyd Gibbons
Floyd Gibbons
Floyd Phillips Gibbons was the war correspondent for the Chicago Tribune during World War I. One of radio's first news reporter and commentators he was famous for a fast talking delivery style. Floyd Gibbons lived a life of danger of which he often wrote and spoke.Gibbons started with the Tribune...

 of Italy," was stretched out in the reeds with excruciatingly painful, fatal stomach wounds, Barzini could only comfort him with an occasional cigarette and a word from time to time. This episode of the incident was captured on Alley's and Mayell's cameras and in a 1937 Wide World Photos shot titled "Consoling dying Panay victim".

Banned by the Fascists

In April 1940, he was arrested on charges of leaking confidential information to the enemy and making disparaging remarks about Mussolini. He was confined by the Fascists to forced residence in a village for five years, but in 1944, when Rome was liberated, he resumed his journalistic career, as editor-in-chief of daily and weekly publications. He founded Il Globo
Il Globo
Il Globo is an Italian language newspaper, published in Melbourne, Australia. The newspaper's Sydney counterpart is La Fiamma.-History:...

. Subsequently he served in turn as the chief editor of several newspapers and magazines.

A staunch anti-Communist, he was a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies
Italian Chamber of Deputies
The Italian Chamber of Deputies is the lower house of the Parliament of Italy. It has 630 seats, a plurality of which is controlled presently by liberal-conservative party People of Freedom. Twelve deputies represent Italian citizens outside of Italy. Deputies meet in the Palazzo Montecitorio. A...

 from 1958 to 1972, for the centre-right Italian Liberal Party
Italian Liberal Party
The Italian Liberal Party was a liberal political party in Italy.-Origins:The origins of liberalism in Italy came from the so-called "Historical Right", a parliamentary group formed by Camillo Benso di Cavour in the Parliament of the Kingdom of Sardinia following the 1848 revolution...

 (Partito Liberale Italiano - PLI).

He was the father of five children, and lived on a small farm near Rome, where he produced his own olive oil, wine, vegetables, and fruit. Barzini died in 1984 of cancer at his home in Rome. His daughter Benedetta
Benedetta Barzini
Benedetta Barzini is an Italian actress and model, daughter of Italian journalist and author Luigi Barzini, Jr. and his second wife, heiress Paola Gadola Feltrinelli...

, by his second wife Paola Gadola Feltrineli, was a successful fashion model during the 1960s.


  • Americans are Alone in the World (1953)
  • The Italians: A Full Length Portrait (1964)
  • From Caesar to the Mafia (1971)
  • O America When You and I were Young (1977)
  • The Europeans (1983)
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