Interview with History Critical Essays

Oriana Fallaci


(Masterpieces of Women's Literature)

Fallaci makes her interviewing approach clear from the outset: She is not in the least interested in conventional journalistic principles of objectivity or detachment. In order to get at the truth, she considers it essential to challenge people on the intellectual and emotional levels and to exhibit, rather than hide, her own feelings, opinions, and emotions. Her ability to break down barriers between interviewer and subject makes her entire enterprise more closely related to psychoanalysis than to traditional journalism or historiography.

Several overriding concerns unite all the interviews in the collection. First of all, Fallaci exhibits, and proudly claims, a violent hostility toward power. She is both fascinated and repelled by the process that turns ordinary human beings, with their share of qualities and faults, into politicians, tyrants, and victims. Because she sees power as “an inhuman and hateful phenomenon,” her sympathies lie primarily with revolutionaries and outcasts. Heads of state, even if they are wise and well intentioned (as is the case with Israeli prime minister Golda Meir in her interview, for example) cannot escape the corrupting influence of their position. Among Fallaci’s other concerns are whether “great” men and women, as opposed to the masses, are the real architects of history and her claim that journalism is a potentially more direct means of arriving at the truth than history.

These interviews and...

(The entire section is 472 words.)