The historian Nicola Tranfaglia died

The historian Nicola Tranfaglia, author of studies on the political and institutional history of the Italian twentieth century and a specialist in the history of journalism, died last night at the age of 82 in Rome. The announcement of the disappearance was made by the Paolo Muridi Foundation, of which he was president of the scientific committee. The family explained to that Professor Tranfaglia had been hospitalized about three months ago in the Roman hospital Umberto I following a cerebral hemorrhage from which he had never recovered.

Born in Naples on 2 October 1938, Tranfaglia was a very important historian who passed from a young collaborator of “Nord e Sud”, Francesco Compagna’s southern journalist, to historical studies, becoming a professor of contemporary history at the University of Turin, of which he was emeritus professor since 2007. An attentive scholar of the democratic movement and fascism, Tranfaglia has dedicated himself with acuity to investigating the historical roots of phenomena such as terrorism, mafias and populism and has dedicated much of his work to the history of journalism: he is the author of the monumental “History of the Italian press” edited together with Valerio Castronovo for Laterza (seven volumes, 1976-2002). He has directed great works of criticism and historiographical synthesis: “The contemporary world” (19 volumes, 1978-83, La Nuova Italia); “History. The great problems from the Middle Ages to the contemporary age” (with Massino Firpo, 10 volumes, 1986-88, Utet); “History of Europe” (4 volumes, curated by Bruno Bongiovanni and Gian Carlo Jocteau, 1980, La Nuova Italia); “Historical dictionary of united Italy” (Laterza, 1996).

Tranfaglia graduated in 1961 in law from the “Federico II” University of the Campania capital, discussing a thesis on the history of the Constitutional Court in Italy. He began his academic career as a researcher at the Luigi Einaudi Foundation in Turin, to become assistant to Alessandro Galante Garrone at the chair of contemporary history at the University of Turin three years later. From 1976 to 2006 he held the chairs of contemporary history, European history and journalism at the University of Turin. He is also dean of the Faculty of Literature and Philosophy of the Turin University. He was a member of the editorial staff of the magazines “Historical Studies” and “Past and Present” and of the scientific committee of the Antonio Gramsci National Foundation.

Tranfaglia’s bibliography is vast: “Carlo Rosselli from interventionism to Justice and Freedom” (Laterza, 1968); “From the liberal state to the fascist regime” (Feltrinelli, 1973); “Press and political system in a united Italy” (Le Monnier, 1986); “Mafia, politics and business 1943-91” (Laterza, 1992); “The First World War and Fascism” (Utet, 1995); “An uncomfortable past. Fascism and post-fascism” (Baldini Castoldi Dalai, 1996); “History of Italian Publishers. From the Unification of Italy to the Sixties” (Laterza, 2000); “The Andreotti sentence. Politics, mafia and justice in contemporary Italy” (Garzanti, 2001); “The Italian transition” (Garzanti, 2003); “The press of the regime 1932-1943. Minculpop’s papers to guide information” (Bompiani, 2005); “But does the fourth power exist in Italy? Press and political power in the history of a united Italy” (Baldini Castoldi Dalai, 2005); “An uncomfortable past. Fascism and post-fascism” (Laterza, 2006); “Lives suspended. The generations of terrorism (in collaboration with Diego Novelli, Baldini Dalai Castoldi, 2007);” The book of deportees. Political deportees 1943-1945 “(in collaboration with Brunello Mantelli, Mursia, 2009);” Life of Alberto Pirelli 1882-1971. Politics through the economy “(Einaudi, 2010);” Populism. An original character in the history of Italy “(Castelvecchi, 2014);” Fascism and the world wars (1914-1945) “(Rusconi, 2019);” Political history of the Constitutional Court “(Massari, 2020).

Tranfaglia has often collaborated with Giuseppe Casarrubea to investigate the intertwining of the Mafia, neo-fascism and US secret services at the turn of the Second World War. The historian also had a political experience as a deputy of the Italian Communist Party between 2006 and 2008. Later he approached Italia dei Valori, running for the 2009 European elections but not being elected. As a journalist he collaborated with “La Repubblica” and “L’Espresso”.

(by Paolo Martini)


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