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Beppe Severgnini Presents “Mamma Mia” at MIT

Italian journalist and writer Beppe Severgnini has set his sights on his fellow countrymen by delving into their psyche to decode Berlusconi’s grasp on the Italian public.

That, in a few words, is the goal of his latest book: “Mamma Mia – Berlusconi’s Italy Explained to Posterity and Friends Abroad.”

Severgnini presented his latest work on Italian politics at MIT on October 31, 2011 – an event made possibile thanks also to MITaly.

Berlusconi’s string of questionable behaviors and politically incorrect gaffes have been strewn across the international media for years, and his current run-in with the Italian courts has him standing trial for alleged abuse of power and sex with an underage prostitute.

All this, and yet Berlusconi remains completely “understood” by Italians. How can this be explained, asks Severgnini. Through witty yet substantive anecdotes touching on Italy’s current political and economic climate, Severgnini decodes the Italian premier’s style and appeal, exploring his rise to power and creating a compulsively readable portrait of Italy today.

Before presenting his book at MIT, Severgnini was a guest on WGBH’s “Emily Rooney Show:”

Severgnini has been writing for the Corriere della Sera since 1995 and has just published “La pancia degli italiani. Berlusconi spiegato ai posteri” (Rizzoli 2010, “Mamma Mia! Berlusconi Explained to Posterity and Friends Abroad”). Since 1998 he has been moderating the online forum “Italians,” the subject of his book “Italians. Il giro del mondo in 80 pizze” (Rizzoli 2008). He has written for The Economist (1993-2003) and for the New York Times Syndicate (2007-2009).

“Un italiano in America” became a National Bestseller in the United States as “Ciao, America!” (Doubleday, 2002). “La testa degli italiani” was a New York Times Bestseller as “La Bella Figura” (Doubleday, 2006) and has been translated into twelve languages.

A keen soccer fan, Beppe has been writing for the Gazzetta dello Sport since 2001. He is also the author of a multiple declaration of love for Inter Milan, his favorite soccer team.

Beppe Severgnini wrote and presented the television programs “Italians, cioè italiani” (RaiTre, 1997) and “Luoghi Comuni. Un viaggio in Italia” (RaiTre 2001 and 2002). Since 2004, he has collaborated with SKY Tg24 as an interviewer, presenter and contributor (“Severgnini alle 10”, “America 2008” and “Zona Severgnini”). Since 2007, he has contributed daily to RadioMontecarlo.

Beppe Severgnini was born on 26 December 1956 in Crema, in the province of Cremona, where he graduated from a classics-oriented secondary school. He obtained his degree in international law at Pavia. After a training period at the European Community in Brussels, he was London correspondent for Indro Montanelli’s Il Giornale (1984-1988), subsequently becoming special correspondent in Eastern Europe, Russia and China (1988-1992). He was seconded to The Economist in London (1993) and then served as Washington correspondent for “la Voce” (1994-1995).

Beppe Severgnini teaches at the Walter Tobagi school of journalism at the university of Milan/IFG (2009-2010). He has been a research fellow/writer in residence at MIT/Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2009) and has taught at Middlebury College, Vermont (2006), and at the universities of Milan-Bocconi (2003 and 2006), Parma (1998) and Pavia (2002), which elected him “Alumnus of the Year” for 1998. He has also lectured at many universities in Italy and abroad.

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