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Puppetmasters: The Political Use of Terrorism in Italy Paperback – October 7, 2002

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 374 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (October 7, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595246974
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595246977
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #469,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Philip Willan is a British author and freelance journalist who has lived in Rome for more than 20 years. He helped research David Yallop's best-selling book "In God's Name", on the alleged murder of Pope John Paul I. He currently writes for a number of newspapers including The Guardian and The Observer.

More About the Author

Philip Willan is an author and freelance journalist specialising in Italian parapolitics. He has worked in Rome for more than 20 years and is the author of Puppetmasters, The Political Use of Terrorism in Italy, first published by Constable in 1991. His latest book, The Last Supper, The mafia, the masons and the killing of Roberto Calvi, was published by Constable & Robinson in April 2007. In the past he has contributed research to David Yallop's best-selling In God's Name, about the alleged murder of Pope John Paul I, and Charles Raw's The Moneychangers, an analysis of the relationship between the Banco Ambrosiano and the Vatican bank.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Luc REYNAERT on October 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Philip Willan analyzes remarkably and profoundly the violent activities of left- and right-wing terrorist groups in Italy in the 2nd half of the 20th century.

He unveils a monster conspiracy between the Italian secret services, the CIA, the FBI, NATO (Gladio netword), the Mafia, the Catholic Church, conservative Italian politicians and freemasonry against the left.

They created a strategy of tension designed to prevent the Italian communist party from taking power or to become a government partner (Italy was a key NATO member).

One of the main means in this strategy was the infiltration of extreme left-wing movements. After the leaders of the Red Brigades were put in prison, the movement became totally controlled by governmental intelligence services. Bombings with indiscriminate killings of innocent civilian were blamed on the left in order to discredit left-wing parties, create fear among the population and concomitantly support the right-wing parties.

The most blatant sign of the collusion of the different players involved was the kidnapping and the murder of the Italian politician Aldo Moro by the Red Brigades. Also Moro tried to forge a center-left government with the communists.

A key player in the strategy of fear was the infamous freemason lodge P2 and its venerable Master Licio Gelli, who attended as an honorary guest the inaugural ceremonies of the presidents Ford, Carter and Reagan. He was also implicated in the Lockheed bribery scandal.

The author states that American lodges were set up for every NATO base.

The main culprits in the deadly strategy were the Italian secret services. But, as the author rightly states, `they needed the endorsement of NATO and NATO's most powerful member.
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful By D3042 on December 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
Begin with Puppetmasters if you suspect that al Qaeda must have had help to accomplish the Sept. 11 attacks and seek examples of how U.S. intelligence agencies have manipulated terrorists.
Throughout the 70's and halfway into the 80's, the United States and right-wing factions within Italy conducted a war of terror in the name of Communism that was designed to arouse public sentiment against the Italian Communist Party. Willan documents that they did it, and how. In doing so, Puppetmasters, which was first published in 1991, reveals to the contemporary reader the ease with which the same tactics could have been used in September 2001 in order to mobilize political support for a weak U.S. president, a right-wing social agenda, and military adventures into far away lands.
The Italian experience with terrorism was astonishingly similar to what we have experienced since Sept. 11. Authorities on the peninsula found themselves blocked and hindered in their efforts to stop terrorism and then to convict terrorists once apprehended. Similarly, the failure to apprehend any accomplices to the Sept. 11 terrorists, the lack of progress on finding those who mailed anthrax letters to congress and the media, and the persistent failure to catch a sniper who terrorized the nation's political capital at the height of the 2002 congressional elections, all raise suspicions that we're not getting to the truth about the War on Terrorism. Puppetmasters may present part of the answer.
Although it details the "years of lead" during which Italy suffered through thousands of terror attacks, the book clearly has important lessons for today. It is an excellent starting point for those wishing to understand how al Qaeda could be receiving assistance from those in government to accomplish their far-flung plots.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D. Presler on February 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
There's nothing I can add to embellish the two very fine reviews on this page. I would like to emphasize that Willan has done his homework. The book is replete with notes carefully culled from an astounding array of sources, many of them interviews Willan conducted with people involved in "the years of lead." Most importantly, Willan maintains a tone throughout the book that bespeaks of a even temperament. Conspiracy theory fans will be disappointed. The reader comes away seeing the huge gulf between secret policies (with their collusions) and grand-guignol plots (like the claim that Bush/Cheney orchestrated 9-11).
The strategy of tension in Italy was one of the most shameful periods in recent Western history, mostly because the Italian Communist Party had long before and transparently abandoned any aim for revolutionary change. Willan's thorough book will make thoughtful readers hope such is in the past, never to recur.
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Format: Paperback
the puppetmasters could be the willan magnum opus. he is knowledgeable, diligent, comprehensive. and even had i never made his acquaintance, i would have to say that the book has an unconscious wit and charm that add interest for the general reader. it could only be enthusiastically recommended for both specialists and general readers having an interest in the darker side of 20th century italian politics and parapolitics, and in american involvement therein.
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