Roberto Vannacci speaking in front of grey curtain l) IL MONDO AL CONTRARIO book on Amazon (r)

Tgcom24/YouTube Amazon Remix by Caterina Cox

An Army general self-published a racist tome on Amazon—it now tops the ‘Bestsellers’ list

The book is topping the chart online.

 

Gabriele Di Donfrancesco

Tech

A self-published book by an Italian army official full of homophobic and racial slurs has topped the Amazon Bestsellers list in Italy for two weeks straight, garnering praise from government officials for defying “liberal censorship.”

The book “Il Mondo al Contrario” (The World Upside Down), is by Army General Roberto Vannacci, a self-described “free thinker” now hailed as an advocate against the “dictatorship of minorities.” It touches on a plethora of far-right topics, ranging from the environment to LGBTQ rights, racial issues, and feminism.

Echoing conservative grievances, Vannacci writes that homosexuals are “not normal” and should not be parents, Black Italians like volleyball national champion Paola Egonu do not represent Italy’s stereotypical “somatic features,” and Russia should be set as a model for immigration policy.

Vannacci, a veteran who commanded special task forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and was then president of the Military Geographic Institute, even articulates his nostalgia for the loss of misogynistic, racial, antisemitic, and homophobic slurs.

While the Minister of Defense Guido Crosetto, co-founder of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s party Brothers of Italy, quickly demoted Vannacci, other government figures criticized the move, voicing support for the general and even suggesting him for the next European elections.

Among Vannacci’s fans is Minister of Infrastructure and leader of the xenophobic party The League Matteo Salvini, who reached the general by phone and vowed to buy his book. 

The silence of Meloni herself reveals the underpinnings of her far-right movement. Vannacci’s ideas are shared by Meloni’s electorate and some cabinet members, but endorsing them herself could mean undermining the stability of her cabinet, going against her own party co-founder Crosetto.

Considering the response to the book, political analysts are betting on a future in politics for the general. 

The general is pending further disciplinary measures—he was swiftly demoted for not getting clearance before publishing—but that hasn’t seemed to stop him from scheduling a book tour after making the Amazon Bestsellers list, with over 22,000 copies sold. His work currently tops the list, ahead of every other book in Italy. 

The book was self-published through the Kindle Direct Publishing program and is only available on Amazon, but only in print. 

The book has a 4.8 rating with more than a thousand reviews from supporters of the general and people who share his ideas. Over 92% of readers have given it five stars

Most reviews praise the fact that Vannacci wrote “what everybody thinks,” and that he is trying “to spin the world in the right direction,” with one user thanking newspapers like La Repubblica for making it famous by building a political case around the book.

The sentiment rings around the county. 

Forza Nuova, an openly neo-fascist group, even wooed him to join the party, though he eventually declined.

Vannacci’s ideas found disciples among former military members, but did faced condemnation from colleagues and superiors.

General of the Reserve Corps Antonio Betelli labeled the arguments of Vannacci dangerous for future recruits who might “get a wrong idea” of what the army stands for. 

Betelli dismissed the beliefs conveyed in the book as “minority” positions in the Army.

Crosetto scolded the right for “filling their mouths with notions like homeland, honor, tradition and national pride, understanding very little or nothing of what the sense of State, the institutions and the Republican constitution are.”

But several prominent denunciations from Army members stand in wide contrast to silence from Meloni.

For LGTBQ groups, Vannacci’s “literary case” shows how far-right Meloni’s government really is. 

“Supporting Vannacci, the government elevates what is an already rampant homophobia among people into something institutionalized,” Vincenzo Miri, president of Rete Lenford, an association providing free legal assistance to the queer community, told the Daily Dot.

“Vannacci, a general, is saying that the dignity of some people is less important than that of others. He has the right to free speech but not to denigrate,” Miri added.

For Mario Colamarino, president of one of the oldest Italian LGBTQ groups, the Circle of Homosexual Culture Mario Mieli, the book will become “some sort of manual for people that think that way and serve in the unions, in the government, in the institutions,” he told the Daily Dot.

“But the idea that there is a war waged by and against the politically correct is more an American thing that the right has imported just to fuel their propaganda,” he added.

With the pretext of giving voice to “politically incorrectness,” Vannacci parroted one of the flagship battles of the government, that is, banning same-sex couples from becoming parents.

Though during last month’s summit with President Joe Biden Meloni vowed to protect LGBTQ rights, she pushes discrimination campaign at home.

The government backs a law that would make surrogacy a “universal crime,” meaning that parents could be prosecuted in Italy for seeking the treatment in countries where it is legal, a push firmly aimed at same-sex couples.

Meanwhile the book is also causing a geopolitic stir. The demotion of Vannacci mirrors the time he was removed from his position at the Italian embassy in Moscow, accused of being sympathetic to Russia’s views on crime and migrants, as well as developing sympathies for Vladimir Putin.

Now, it’s also helping an anti-NATO faction within Italy foment. 

This week, Vannacci reportedly wished “good luck” to former Lieutenant Colonel Fabio Filomeni who held a meeting to discuss the foundation of a movement against “NATO aggressiveness.” 

Filomeni offered to call the movement The World Upside Down.

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