A History of Contemporary Italy: Society and Politics,

A History of Contemporary Italy: Society and Politics, 1943-1988 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 u 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 itself.Ginsborg 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 Sicily.The 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 vis the Christian Democrats which achieved nothing.Ginsborg 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 book.This 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 frequently 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, andgenerally in how a western European country developed during the economic golden age up until the 1970 s and how afterwards things changed 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 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 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 by.I wish I could find a book picking p the period 1988 to the present Di tutte le monografie storiografiche mainstream uscite sulla storia dell Italia nel secondo dopoguerra, forse questa di Ginsborg la migliore Soprattutto nella parte del boom economico e nella transizione di fine anni 60 primi anni 70.Quando, per , si arriva ai pieni anni 70 son dolori, ed un peccato, ma da uno storico accademico, alla fine degli anni 80, forse non si poteva chiedere di pi. Come molti, a scuola ho imparato la nostra storia solo fino alla fine della seconda guerra mondiale, e senza nemmeno troppi dettagli.Col desiderio di colmare finalmente questa mia ignoranza, ho comprato questo libro E fatto molto molto bene, ci sono dovizie di informazioni e dettagli, senza risultare per mai stucchevole Alcune parti risaltano in modo particolare, come la descrizione del boom economico italiano degli anni 60, che ne esce anche ridimensionato nella sua epicit , dato che a Come molti, a scuola ho imparato la nostra storia solo fino alla fine della seconda guerra mondiale, e senza nemmeno troppi dettagli.Col desiderio di colmare finalmente questa mia ignoranza, ho comprato questo libro E fatto molto molto bene, ci sono dovizie di informazioni e dettagli, senza risultare per mai stucchevole Alcune parti risaltano in modo particolare, come la descrizione del boom economico italiano degli anni 60, che ne esce anche ridimensionato nella sua epicit , dato che alla fine pi il frutto di Laissez faire politico, imprenditori scaltri, e manodopera pagata molto poco, pi che di reali innovazioni Eravamo la Cina di cinquant anni fa.Un altro elemento appare evidente dal libro, e non in positivo la politica italiana, quasi trasversalmente, stata attraversata da piccoli uomini che hanno badato sempre al loro tornaconto e mai al bene del Paese Togliatti, Nenni, Fanfani, tutti nomi che riecheggiano nella nostra storia come quelli di grandi statisti, ma che alla prova dei fatti hanno tarpato le ali a un Paese che avrebbe potuto essere molto migliore di quello che diventato nel dopoguerra.Ma un partito e una persona escono come tristi vincitori di questa classifica la DC e Aldo Moro Il partito storicamente inciuciaro, clientelare, lottizzatore di tutta la vita pubblica, corrotto, lo conoscevamo gi tutti Quello che non sapevo quanto sia stato pessimo Moro Colpa probabilmente dell aura di misticizzazione dovuta alla sua tragica fine, che come spesso accade fa diventare il ricordo delle persone migliore delle persone stesse Nel libro il campione del non fare, del dire tutto e niente, del mantenimento dello status quo e della difesa a ogni costo della supremazia della DC, mettendo sempre il bene del partito davanti a quello del Paese E sotto i suoi occhi e quelli della DC, mentre gente senza scrupoli si arricchiva, il nostro Paese esaurita la spinta degli anni 60 diventato quello che oggi vecchio, arretrato, individualista, pieno di gente che pensa solo ai propri interessi, con un paesaggio bellissimo devastato dalla speculazione infinita.Si dice che studiamo la storia per evitare di ripetere gli stessi errori, chiss se abbiamo anche solo capito quali abbiamo fatto nel secondo dopoguerra Dovrebbe essere una lettura obbligatoria in tutte le scuole, 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 series course 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 Th 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 series course 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 70s Berlinguer 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 sequel 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 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 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 squalor in parts of the South, to the peculiarities of religion, organised crim 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 squalor 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 AMAZING This should have been my high school textbook on Italian history.Of 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 dep AMAZING This should have been my high school textbook on Italian history.Of 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


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