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514 letters in canada 1999 Angelo Principe. The Darkest Side of the Fascist Years. The Italian Canadian Press: 1920B1942 Guernica. 272. $20.00 The Darkest Side of the Fascist Years was written in part to counter the idea of the `innocent' Italian Canadian being led off to internment camps during the Second World War. `Innocent' suggests that the supporters of fascism had little knowledge of what fascism entailed, or joined fascist organizations solely out of patriotism to Italy. Angelo Principe puts this argument to rest with his new book detailing the histories of the three largest ItalianCanadian fascist newspapers, L'Italia (Montreal), Il Bolletino (Toronto), and L'Eco (Vancouver). Principe documents how the newspapers were the mouthpieces of the Italian consulates, spreading fascist propaganda throughout the Italian-Canadian communities and helping to organize an Italian-Canadian fascist movement. Principe's background as a journalist has helped him write an engaging look at the social, cultural, and political environment of Italian-Canadian communities from the 1920s to 1942. Principe has written this book in an attempt to understand how B and why B many Italian Canadians supported fascism, an issue he makes clear he does not understand. Principe allows for no doubt about where his sympathies lie in his book and it is not with the fascist press or the Italian Canadians who were interned for their active role in fascist organizations. He bristles at the question whether Italian Canadians in fascist organizations were really fascists, and decries other historical works which downplay ItalianCanadian fascism as Italian patriotism. Principe details how the fascist press, inspired by the ideology of a `new' Italy, helped divide ItalianCanadian communities into good Italians and bad B with the `bad' Italians spied on, cursed at, and blackmailed. The Darkest Side of the Fascist Years is divided into five main chapters, an overview of early attempts to organize a fascist press, a chapter each on the three newspapers, and a chapter on anti-Semitism and the local press. Introduced and given context by Gabriele Scardellato, the book also contains reprints from the three newspapers which add to the overall feel of the book, and has a series of fascinating appendices which translate more interesting articles into English. The Darkest Side of the Fascist Years has several strengths. First, it offers further evidence to readers attempting to determine whether or not the Canadian government was reacting to a fairly well established fascist organization , or as some have claimed, out of racial biases when it interned hundreds of Italian Canadians B and registered even more. Second, it is one of only a few books to examine the role of the `ethnic' press in propaganda. Third, it provides readers with English translations to many sources previously available only in Italian. And fourth, it is quite simply a fascinating story. humanities 515 The book's main drawback comes in its organizational approach. By organizing the chapters around the individual newspapers as opposed to by theme there is a lot of overlap. Only the final chapter B `Anti-Semitism and the Local Fascist Press' B is arranged thematically, and it is the best chapter of the book. A chapter on the interactions of the papers with the Italian communities and their `Canadian' neighbours as a whole, a chapter on how the Ethiopian campaign was portrayed in B and affected B each paper, and a chapter each on the role of the Catholic church, local notables, and the Casa D'Italias in supporting and propagandizing fascism would have been useful. Another quibble I have with the book is its failure to address the issue of who was subscribing to the paper, who was reading the paper, and more important, if the contents of the papers had any impact on the Italian Canadians' support of fascism. It is one thing to assume that these papers had a profound impact on the promotion of fascism among ItalianCanadian communities B and in this I suspect Principe is right B but it is another to demonstrate it. I hope that this is a question Principe can address in the companion volume on anti-fascist newspapers, now being worked on. These quibbles should not detract from what is...


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pp. 514-515
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