Here we have two contrasting interpretations of the massacre. Gherardi's book presents the official interpretation of the Catholic Church: the victims of the massacre are Catholic martyrs. By contrast, Lippi's book, along with the book produced by Renato Giorgi, presents the orthodox grand narrative of the “Marzabotto Myth of Resistance”.
Here are the roots of the Bologna Church of the second half of the XX° century. Here is the new Sanctuary of our times: not the venerated image or the place of the Apparition but the modern equivalent of the the Holy Jerusalem, built by the Fathers right on the Vitale and Agricola Protomartyrs' blood-soaked land. The fraternal shared sacrifice of Vitale (the servant) and Agricola (the master) proclaimed the equality and fraternal communion of all human beings in Christ. In the events of Casaglia, San Martino, Sperticano, Pioppe di Salvaro there's something similar: people and priests together in the sacrifice, in the context of a great faith celebrating the Eucharist and praying to the Virgin. The community died together because it lived together.
Luciano Gherardi, Le Querce di Monte Sole (The oats of Monte Sole), Bologna, 1994, p.331-32
The Red Star is a precious inheritance, unique in the whole Province of Bologna.It is the product of the Archipelago civilization (NB here Lippi means all the places around Monte Sole) and it is the lively testimony of the fact that this civllization was able to choose. Between war and the end of the war, it was able to choose the end of the war, the peace. Even if this choice was the most difficult at that time. At the crossroads between democracy and dictatorship, it was able to choose the road to democracy. Between freeedom and authoritarianism, there is no doubt: it chose freedom.. An easy choice? Yes [it may seem so] now after 40 years. But at the time? I ask myself what would I have done, what would I have chosen? Today the answer seems easy to me. The answer of the Archipelago civilization, that brought up a generation of youth capble of making the right choice(....).What that young generation left to us is a heritage. If this is not clear, we cannot understand the martyrdom of the Archipelago civilization.
Giampietro Lippi, La Stella Rossa a Monte Sole, Bologna, 1989, p. 21-22