The Force of Destiny: A History of Italy Since 1796

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008 - History - 652 pages
7 Reviews
A sweeping, first-of-its-kind history of the creation of modern Italy

The birth of modern Italy was a messy affair. Inspired by a small group of writers, intellectuals, and politicians, Italy struggled in the first half of the nineteenth century to unite all Italians under one rule, throwing aside a multitude of corrupt old rulers and foreign occupiers. In the midst of this turmoil, Italian politicians felt compelled by a “force of destiny” hideously at odds with Italian reality. After great sacrifice Italy was finally unified -- and turned out to be just as fragile, impoverished, and backward as it had been before. The resentments this created led to Italy’s destructive role in World War I, the subsequent rise of Mussolini and authoritarianism in the 1920s and ’30s, and the nation's humiliating defeat in World War II. This haunting legacy deeply informs the Italy of today.

Christopher Duggan skillfully interweaves Italy's art, music, literature, and architecture with its economic and social realities and political development to tell this extraordinary European story. The first English-language book to cover the full scope of modern Italy, from its origins more than two hundred years ago to the present, The Force of Destiny is a brilliant and comprehensive study -- and a frightening example of how easily nation-building and nationalism can slip toward authoritarianism and war.
  

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Review: The Force of Destiny: A History of Italy Since 1796

User Review  - Mark - Goodreads

This excellent book is not so much a history of Italy as it is a history of the nation of Italy. As Christopher Duggan demonstrates, Italian nationalism was confined to a few intellectuals, artists ... Read full review

Review: The Force of Destiny: A History of Italy Since 1796

User Review  - Alex - Goodreads

Great history from 1796 until unification. Decent job on 1930s and 1940s. Rest of the book is a bit dry (especially from 1880s until Mussolini). Read full review

Contents

Deliverance 17969
9
Searching for the Nations Soul
24
Conspiracy and Resistance
48
Restoration Romanticism and Revolt 181530
71
Fractured Past and Fractured Present
90
Mazzini and the Democrats
116
The Moderates
144
Unity 185860
198
Socialism and Catholicism
350
Nationalism
374
The Great War 191518
390
Civil War and the Advent of Fascism 191922
407
The Establishment of a Dictatorship 19225
433
The Fascist Ethical State
449
Community of Believers
475
A Place in the Sun 192936
488

The New State 117
217
The Road to Rome 186170
242
The Threat from the South 187085
259
National Education
274
King Church and Parliament
298
Francesco Crispi and the New European Order
323
The Fin de Siecle Crisis
338
Into the Abyss 193643
506
The Foundations of the Republic 194357
529
The Economic Miracle 195875
548
Towards the Second Republic
568
References
588
Index
627
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

CHRISTOPHER DUGGAN is a professor and director of the Center for Modern Italian History at the University of Reading, Great Britain.
The author of several books on Italian history, his writing has appeared in the New York Times, American Historical Review, English Historical Review, and the Times Literary Supplement.

Bibliographic information