Palmiro Togliatti could not have become leader of the Italian Communist Party at a more difficult time in the Party’s history. In 1926, while he was away from Italy representing the Party in Moscow, Mussolini’s Fascist government outlawed the organization and arrested all the other leading Communists, including Antonio Gramsci, and Togliatti became leader--but at the cost of living in exile for nearly twenty years.
Drawing on unprecedented access to private correspondence and newly available archives, this is the first full biography of this important Communist politician and intellectual. Like many successful politicians, Togliatti was a man of contradictions--the dedicated Party man who was also instrumental in creating the constitution of Republican Italy--whose personal charisma and political acumen kept him at the forefront of Italian politics for nearly forty years. Aldo Agosti explores Togliatti’s intellectual development; his achievements and his sometimes criminal mistakes as the leading member of the Comintern; his complex relationship with Moscow; and his lasting impact on Italian politics. The result is a meticulous and fascinating life of one of Western Europe’s most successful Communist leaders, which at the same time casts fresh light on the internal politics of the Comintern.