My copy of "Infancy of the Myth"
The book is paperback and clocks in at 255 pages although Amazon lists the book in error at 294 pages. It has many color photographs of vintage structures in Castellaneta, including churches and street-ways and of course Valentino's noted birth home. To me the photographs were the best part of the book.
The book is being marketed as a straight forward biography of Rudolph Valentino's first nine years of life. On Amazon the publisher has tried to sweeten the deal by describing it as a "scholarly study" and says it is a "stunning, accurate narrative". No, sadly, it is not even close to that wishful description the publisher, Viale Industria Publication put on Amazon.
If the book had been marketed as "historical fiction" I would award the author ***** five stars on Amazon. However as a "scholarly study" it comes up with * star.
Why? Fictional dialogue. A whopping 90% of the book is fictional dialogue.
This is an example where the author completely invents dialogue, actions, glances, touching.
Here the author tells the reader what Alberto and Rodolfo were thinking, as well as what their fathers actions were. All fabricated.
Here the author tells us what Rodolfo was thinking and felt; pain, humiliation and anger. All fabricated.
Here the author fabricates an entire interaction with the local priest along with back and forth fictional dialogue. All untrue.
The author has provided no citations as to where he is pulling the dialogue from, and therefore there is no way for him to know from 1895 to 1904 as to what Valentino's mother, father, brother, priest was thinking, or saying. Yet he tells us page after page of what they were thinking, he quotes them in casual dialogue.
The premise of the book is true; Castellaneta is the real town where Valentino was born and yes his father, Giovanni, his mother Gabrielle, his brother Alberto all were real people. The author in his introduction said his aim of the book was to outline the real events. This he accomplished, but just reader be wary - everything outside of that framework has been created out of thin air. It reads like historical fiction and if that is fine by you, then by all means add this book to your library. Just know that it is not a "scholarly study" nor is it a "stunning, accurate narrative" as the publisher has described.