On March 15, 1972, the body of a man was found at the foot of one of the main electricity pylons at Segrate, a suburb of Milan. It appeared he had been killed when the dynamite he was attempting to strap to the pylon detonated. Although the identity card found in his pocket bore a false name, within 24 hours he was identified as Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, the visionary publisher, left-wing radical and one of the richest men in Italy.
Feltrinelli was born into a wealthy family in Milan on June 19, 1926. During World War II, while still a teenager, he joined the National Liberation Committee as part of a unit attached to the American Fifth Army, which fought to free Italy from the fascists. This led him, in 1945, to become a member of the Italian Communist Party, to which he made significant financial contributions.
In 1948, at the suggestion of the leader of the party, Palmiro Togliatti, he set up a library in Milan dedicated to the history of socialist and labour movements in Europe. This library is now part of the Feltrinelli Foundation and houses 140,000 works, in 10 different languages, devoted to social history.