Bocca was born in Cuneo, Piedmont, the son of teachers, and studied law. He fought in the Alpini corps during World War II, and befriended Benedetto Dalmastro and Duccio Galimberti. Together with them, after the Armistice with Italy (September 1943), he joined the partisan organization called Giustizia e Libertà, becoming the commander of its 10th Division, fighting together with US and British Armies against the nazi-fascists.
Having begun his press career in Cuneo, Bocca wrote for Giustizia and Libertà's magazine during the post-war period. Later, he worked for the Gazzetta del Popolo, L'Europeo and Il Giorno, analyzing Italian culture and politics. In 1971 he was amongst those who signed a document issued by the magazine L'Espresso against police chief Luigi Calabresi after the death of the anarchist Giuseppe Pinelli, soon after killed by a terrorist group of far left named Lotta Continua. Five years later, Bocca was among the founders of the daily La Repubblica, with which he thenceforth collaborated.
He also wrote several books, in most of which he denounces the social and political problems of Italy. He has repeatedly taken a critical stance against globalization, the foreign policy of U.S. oil corporations and the rise of right-wing political parties allied with Forza Italia led by Silvio Berlusconi.
Bocca died in Milan on 25 December 2011.
Most conservative critics of Bocca noted that in his major opus, History of the Resistance, a large research on Italy's Partisan movement, he failed to mention some crucial facts such as the Osoppo accident (in which the catholic brigade Osoppo was accused of cooperating with the fascist in Yugoslavia and executed by communist).
- "E' morto a Milano Giorgio Bocca Napolitano: "Sempre stato coerente"". Repubblica.it. Retrieved 2011-12-26.
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