The Force of Destiny: A History of Italy Since 1796

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008 - History - 652 pages
6 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  - 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

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

User Review  - Fred Gorrell - Goodreads

This encyclopedic description of the history of Italy, from the invasion of Napoleon through and beyond WWII, is written in an engaging style. The book provides an opportunity to contrast Italy's ... Read full review

Contents

I
xv
II
1
III
3
IV
24
V
48
VI
69
VII
71
VIII
90
XX
298
XXI
321
XXII
323
XXIII
338
XXIV
350
XXV
374
XXVI
390
XXVII
405

IX
116
X
144
XI
163
XII
165
XIII
181
XIV
198
XV
215
XVI
217
XVII
242
XVIII
259
XIX
274
XXVIII
407
XXIX
433
XXX
449
XXXI
475
XXXII
488
XXXIII
506
XXXIV
527
XXXV
529
XXXVI
548
XXXVII
568
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