Don Winslow and the rubble of America

Culture - 24 April 2024

U.S. writer meets with students and audience at IULM on May 13

After City on Fire and City of Dreams Don Winslow closes-with City in Ruins the dizzying trilogy devoted to Danny Ryan. A former Providence dockworker and Irish mob soldier who leads his people in the war against the Italians and then escapes to Hollywood and Las Vegas where he ends up building an empire. A trilogy destined to end up in the American mob canon alongside the seminal works of Puzo, Scorsese, and Coppola, it takes its starting point from the Aeneid. In the books references to Iliad, Odyssey, Oresteia are recognizable and claimed.

After 25 novels Winslow gives up writing, as he explained to the Los Angeles Times, "I have to fight (against Trump, Ed.). I don't want to have to write an obituary about America losing democracy." A private detective, theater director, and screenwriter, Winslow turned to the novel in the 1990s. He began with a series devoted to the investigations of college student Neal Carey. Real critical and public acclaim came with The Death and Life of Bobby Z (on screen in 2007, with a cast that fields Paul Walker and Laurence Fishburne). Among his later works is the splendid and melancholic The Winter of Frankie Machine, in which an old killer must return to work to face the ghosts of his past. Film rights have been acquired by Robert De Niro, while Oliver Stone has already brought The Beasts (2012) to theaters; an adaptation from City on Fire starring Austin Butler was recently announced. Also on the starting tapes is a series based on The Border.

With the Cartel Trilogy Winslow reaches the pinnacle of his output. The trilogy opens with The Power of the Dog. In the novel, DEA agent Arthur Keller is sent to Mexico to fight drug kingpins. In the sequel, The Cartel, Keller has retired to be a beekeeper, but the peace is short-lived as he finds himself pursued by a bounty, marked narcos, of $2 million. James Ellroy christened the book the "War and Peace of drug novels." The Border closes the trilogy: a violent, desperate, furious work, with Keller on the warpath. Pierre Lemaitre is right: "With this triptych that has no equivalent, Don Winslow has not only created a magnificent work or even a masterpiece (which would already be a lot): he has given us an authentic American counter-romance."

IULM and Associazione Culturale Blue Velvet , in collaboration with HarperCollins Italy, present:
Don Winslow and the Rubble of America
Monday, May 13, 10:30 a.m., Room 401 (IULM 4)


  • Don Winslow - writer
  • Gianni Canova - Rector of IULM University
  • Massimo Rota - journalist
  • Paolo Giovannetti - IULM lecturer
  • Ilenia De Bernardis - IULM lecturer
  • Filippo Pennacchio - IULM lecturer

The event is open to students and the public, after registering through this link

Photography by Don Winslow: ©Eduardo Munoz Alvarez