If for totalitarian ideology one means 'a way of explaining the world in which men's political actions take on the characteristics of providence, excluding any form of divinity' (F. Furet), the collapse - less than half a century later - first of fascism and then of communism, seems to have pensioned off those responsible for the conceptual elaboration of the 'militant intel-lectual'. However, rather than heralding the beginning of a more 'open-minded society', all this seems to have lead to an utter rout, which has cast doubt on many of the hard fought for aims of civilisation. The demobilised intellectual threatens to take over form the militant intellectual: up until yesterday the latter would sing the praises of relentless progress, that in her wake brought many gifts, while implicitly warning people against paying too much attention to the broken egg shells (concentration camps) that were part and parcel of making an omelette. The former has moved charges against the entire Western culture, striving to build the kingdom of men with the recipe of Reason. If the truth be told, all intellectuals, be they left wing or right wing, have always been attracted by power: such a phenomena is as old as western society itself. The book that includes unpublished texts on the crisis of intellectuals and 'values' as well as works on Bissolati, Ferrero, Rensi and the collaborators of the Italian 'Risorgimento' that have already been published tries to throw light on the crucial relationship between intellectuals and power in our times, as well as highlight the masquerades, deceptions and manipulations typical of the Italian political scene. It goes without saying that the detailed reconstruction of the most significant issues in the relationship between culture and politics in Italy during the Nineteenth century helps focus on the reoccurring peculiarities and trends in this country. Dino Cofrancesco (Arce 1942), professor of history of political doctrines, is in charge of the Department of Philosophy and the International Centre of Italian Studies of the University of Genoa. Since 1997 he has been President of the Italian Centre of Philosophy. He has done much research on liberal thought in eighteenth century Europe - mainly French, from Tocqueville to Aron - on federalist theories, on political 'myths', on the radical right (with special reference to Italian fascism) and on the language of politics. He is on the committee of the journals 'Nuova Storia Contemporanea', 'Il Pensiero Politico' and 'Quaderni di Scienza Politica'. He works for various periodicals and for the daily newspapers 'Il Corriere della Sera' and 'Il Secolo XIX'. Among others, he has published Parole della politica (Napoli, ESI, 1995).