A History of Contemporary Italy Society and Politics 1943

A History of Contemporary Italy Society and Politics 1943 1988 From a war torn and poverty stricken country regional and predominantly agrarian to the success story of recent years Italy has witnessed the most profound transformation economic social and demographic in its entire history Yet the other recurrent theme of the period has been the overwhelming need for political reform and the repeated failure to achieve it Professor Ginsborg's authoritative work the first to combine social and political perspectives is concerned with both the tremendous achievements of contemporary Italy and the continuities of its history that have not been easily set aside

10 thoughts on “A History of Contemporary Italy Society and Politics 1943 1988

  1. says:

    POST WAR ITALY Paul Ginsborg's A History of Contemporary Italy begins with the Italians reaping the disastrous rewards of over two decades of Mussolini's rule The Allies have invaded southern Italy and on the removal of El Duce the Germans invade from the north The author expertly portrays the chaotic situation with an increasingly popular Resistance in the north fighting the Germans who are themselves trying to consolidate their control and stop the Allied forces from battling their way up the peninsula towards Germany itselfGinsborg is particularly good on the tensions between the Resistance largely formed of Communists and the Allies along with the Italian government formed after Mussolini was deposed It is clear that as in Greece the Allies have no intention of leaving the Italians to sort out their own political future and clearly favour the right particularly but not exclusively those who kept their hands relatively clean during the fascist era This goes as far as minimally looking the other way as the Mafia re established themselves in SicilyThe book is broadly sympathetic to the left in Italy but without compromising on impartially telling the story of Italy's recovery under the Christian Democrats or the limitations of the left themselves This reader for one ended up wishing that the Communists had sent their leader Togliatti back to Moscow along with the Stalinist style structures which weighed the party down and his policy of appeasement vis à vis the Christian Democrats which achieved nothingGinsborg's attention is focussed primarily on social political and economic developments as they evolved during the post war recovery and beyond A constant authorial eye is kept on changing programs and policies of all parties whether it's the Christian Democrats in central government or other parties at the local level as well as the economic and the social circumstances of the country from the industrial and relatively advanced north to the impoverished rural south Other topics covered include developments in the working class movements the upheavals of 1968 agrarian reform organised crime and industrial policy There is also a substantial amount of social political and economic data in a statistical appendix at the end of the bookThis is a substantial work that is very well written Ginsborg who himself has spent a good deal of time in Italy conveys an enormous amount of information about the changing circumstances of post war Italy This is freuently accompanied with first hand accounts from all manner of people from the world of high politics and business to the southern rural migrant in the industrial north that leave the reader with a vivid sense of developments If there is one problem it is that though the book claims to tell the story of Italy up until 1988 most of the detail is with regard to the period up to 1980 with a short final chapter of twenty or so pages covering the main developments in the 1980's Otherwise this is a book I would whole heartedly recommend to anyone who is interested in Italy in particular and generally in how a western European country developed during the economic golden age up until the 1970's and how afterwards things changed

  2. says:

    The book interweaves the economic political and societal changes of a 45 period when Italy made the jump from a backward state where German and allied armies fought and a civil war raged to a modern state with an economy about the same size as Great Britain Italy had the largest neo fascist party in the west and the largest communist party as well Throughout all the center right christian democrats ruled in an uninterrupted fashion for better or for worse The book captures the rise of the unions and the left flush with confidence in 1968 that their time had come only to disintegrate with the nihilism of the red brigades and the onslaught of globalism Instead of representing the future they descended into gloom and despair with the realization that history had passed them byI wish I could find a book picking p the period 1988 to the present

  3. says:

    Really enjoyed this Political history as it should be done I just wish there were similar political histories for other countries as well The author deals with politics mainly through class while not ignoring cultural factors He is perhaps overtly critical of the Italian Left's reformism while being consistently scathing of the Right's corruption while acknowledging its tactical abilities

  4. says:

    A huge useful tome of post war Italian history Because it's basically a history book it can be a bit dry and hard to stay focused on but kudos to Ginsborg for trying to cram all that info into my tiny brain I wish I could take this book as a lecture seriescourse by him Anyway just for my own memory here are my takeaways well first there was the war and the occupation by the evil Nazis That sucked Partisans were cool Americans saved everyone and planted their seeds of control Then the major Italian parties formed the DC Christian Democrats PCI Communists and PSI Socialists Ginsborg doesn't mention the crazy right wing guys like Lega Nord and Alleanza Nazionale but America kinda hated the Communists during the Cold War so they were doomed to be opposition forever At least until the late 70sBerlinguer; though even in government they didn't work out In fact every government since the war didn't work out so well Reform never came The bureaucracy was horrible The mafia thrived People protested '68 idealism working itself up into a frenzy of 1970s terrorism Aldo Moro; the Bologna train station bombing; radicals and anarchists And then the 1980s happened when everyone wore big horrible glasses and rolled around in money I imagine Working Girl only with Beppe Severgnini and his big glasses making appearances I'm sure I missed a lot But nonetheless Ginsborg did an amazing job and now I have this trusty tome as a reference Seriously it's huge He has a seuel which I think he should have titled Berlusconi but instead is called Italy and Its Discontents Indeed the story is discontenting to the max Machiavellian backstabbing and corruption is fun and funny at the remove of 500 years in the romance of Renaissance princely states But 20th century corruption and decay is just sad Oh Italy What to do with you

  5. says:

    Necessarily a bit dry and acronym heavy when dealing with party politics this Marxist in the purest materialist sense but objective and balanced account of Italy's extraordinary growth and change in the post war period is otherwise a revelation From the volatile part the extreme left and extreme right played throughout the era to the geographical and social divides in a country that began the period in medieval sualor in parts of the South to the peculiarities of religion organised crime and kinship all is explained thoroughly using data first hand accounts and thoughtful analysis It was a tough read but it won't be long before I reach for the follow up

  6. says:

    AMAZING This should have been my high school textbook on Italian historyOf COURSE the italian communist party was under the guide of the Soviets and PRECISELY FOR THAT REASON they posed no threat to italian democracy in fact they were a conservative force restraining the revolutionary impulses of workers and landless peasants Remember that the Soviets played a very similar role in revolutionary spainit also helps to explain a great deal of how the italian state came to be in the deplorable condition it is now

  7. says:

    A detailed account of Italy from World War II to the end of the Italian First Republic Mr Ginsborg covers all the topics from the economic miracle to the year of lead related to terrorism in Italy in the 1960s and 1970s

  8. says:

    a very well reaserched book Accurate and well writtenItalians have a short memory they should all read this book funny that the best books about Italy are not written by Italians

  9. says:

    Good but dull and tedious Read like a textbook

  10. says:

    An enlightening and detailed if at times a little academic modern history of Italy Very well researched and presented with a fair overview of the competing players in this complex history

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