Published March 2005
Length 320 pages
Memoirs of a Failed Diplomat
Dan Vittorio Segre
Migrant by necessity, cosmopolitan by choice, Dan Vittorio Segre has truly had an extraordinary life. Memoirs of a Fortunate Jew told the story of his childhood and adolescence: from his secular, bourgeois Jewish upbringing to his enforced emigration to Palestine, and his sudden awakening to the Zionist movement and his own religious convictions. Primo Levi called it "taut and illuminating... memorable... written with the humility of he who confesses himself and with the honesty of he who bore witness".
The present volume continues the tale, tracing the development of Segre's unique personality, which attracts him to ever-more eccentric and paradoxical situations. From soldier to diplomat to soldier again, via Palestine, Paris, Ethiopia, and Madagascar, Segre chronicles his encounters with other remarkable characters - a chain-smoking Golda Meir; the African leaders Tom Mboya and Julius Nyerere; Soviet diplomats and KGB agents. Suspected of being a spy, Segre is dismissed from the Foreign Ministry, official recognition of his innocence only coming a decade later. By this time, however, Segre had fully embarked on new careers as a journalist and academic. Segre's candour, irony, intelligence, and belief are irresistible companions throughout this adventure.
About Dan Vittorio Segre
Born in Italy in 1922, Dan Vittorio Segre emigrated to Palestine in 1938 and spent 50 years as a diplomat, academic and journalist in Israel. He later returned to Turin, pursuing his dual career as journalist and academic and founded the Institute for Mediterranean Studies at the Italian University of Lugano, Switzerland. He died at home on 27 September 2014. His death is mourned by friends and colleagues in Italy, Israel, the UK and beyond.