The Mill on the Po Trilogy

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By Riccardo Bacchelli

The Mill on the Po trilogy has been called the “epic of the common man,” intended—in its author’s own words—“to poeticize a century and to celebrate the tenacious humility of the little people of Italy, who have kept faith…and refused to be crushed by the almost overwhelming burden of their history.” The trilogy’s central theme is the birth of Italy as a nation; its central figures are Lazzaro Scacerni and his family, their mill on the river Po, and the river itself—stately, savage, source of both life and death.

And so we arrive at the encouraging truth that quarrels and wars and all the most violent human passions, when there is good will on the part of God and man, actually contribute to the achievement of unity among men and the profit of civilization. (Riccardo Bacchelli)