The Secret History

Roots, heritage, history — call it what you will, but humanity's enduring fascination with its past remains as complex, explosive and disturbed as ever. We may live in a global village, there may be no alternative to the liberal truisms of democracy, but in great swaths of the world old ghosts have reappeared to haunt our cotton-candy present.

Frank Viviano is particularly well qualified to explore these paradoxes. An American writer of Italian origin, a characteristically rootless foreign correspondent seeking meaning in ethnic wars and a middle-aged man increasingly conscious of his limitations and mortality, he decides...

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