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A Concise History of Italy (Cambridge Concise Histories) Paperback – April 21, 1994

ISBN-13: 978-0521408486 ISBN-10: 0521408482

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (May 27, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521408482
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521408486
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #323,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'... a detailed, well-structured guide to the problems that still dog the heels of this geographically booted country.' Teaching History

Book Description

Covering the period from the fall of the Roman Empire in the west to the present day, this concise history focuses in particular on the difficulties Italy has faced in forging a nation state during the past two centuries, including a legacy of fragmentation dating back to the sixth century.

Customer Reviews

This book provides a great overview of Italian history.
Grace Margaret
If you are looking into buying this book, please be aware that the title is completely misleading.
M. Lutton
Easy to follow for the most part and able to get what I needed out of it!
Kaylee Hawley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Ganse, Alexander on August 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
Christopher Duggan's Concise History of Italy (320 pp.) covers the period since the fall of Rome in 410 and the entire Italian peninsula. Yet the focus on the book is on the history of Italy as a whole; as Italy was not united before 1860 (1871), those who are interested in the history of Italy's individual states have to look elsewhere for further information. The focus on Italy as a whole also explains why the book's emphasis lies on the years after the French Revolution (pp.87-295). For readers who want to understand the development of Italy, the growth of nationalist sentiment, the overcoming of it's partition, the problems of unification, the different development of the industrial north, the administrative center and the agricultural south, of the antagonism between the liberal state and the catholic church, the failure of democracy and the establishment of the corporate state etc. the book provides an excellent, yet concise and easy-to-read analysis. It is at times short on historical data; the Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy ed. by K.R. Nilsson and M.F. Gilbert therefore is a useful addition.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Wallace V. French III on March 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is great for the student or traveller wishing to get a quick overview of Italy, it's politics, and it's people. I read this on a plane from NYC to Rome and finished it. It is very easy to read. It really doesn't leave anything out either; the general history of Italy is covered. Also, the bibliography will point you in the right direction for additional reading.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By J. Gillon on September 2, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is, as the title indicates, a "concise" history. Very concise, and incredibly well written! The authors cover a lot of ground, and so few words are devoted to character development or the broader context of historical events that one might expect the book to read like an almanac. But the Duggans do an amazing job of giving us an emminently readable, interesting, and cohesive outline of Italy's political history. Through an excellent (almost poetic) economy of words, they have fully realized the book's potential.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By MarkK VINE VOICE on March 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book offers the best introduction available to the history of Italy. In less than three hundred pages, Duggan offers a concise summary of the past 1600 years of the peninsula. His focus in this book is on the multitude of efforts during this period to build an Italian nation out of the rubble of the Roman empire, a goal only achieved in 1860 and then in an imperfect, fragmentary form, with subsequent generations left with the more difficult task of creating a national identity. Duggan recounts this with insight and the result is essential reading, not only for students of Italy's past but for those seeking insight into the nation's troubled present as well.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Dorn on June 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book well describes the problems Italy was facing with foreign powers after the Roman Empire fell and how they regained control. It really describes the Risorgimento well and included all of the major leaders involved. France's influence is also well explained and shows the series of events, including the deaths of leaders and the creation of new leaders, that shaped modern day Italy.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. Lutton on June 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are looking into buying this book, please be aware that the title is completely misleading. When I ordered it, I knew it did not include Roman times, but it really disregards the 5th through 18th centuries too! I imagine the author's academic focus is modern or 19th and 20th century Italy, as those centuries compromise about 70% of this book. Background information on the geography of Italy in the beginning is useful; the summary of how Italy stayed independent despite its peripheral relationships with the Holy Roman Empire, France or Spain was informative. However, I would have liked to learn more about the glory of the Renaissance, the power of the Medici's or the greatness of Bologna than to learn about modern nation building and the very recent history of such an old and fantastic land. The title of the book should be "A Summary of Italian Nation Building". Even when briefly discussing the 15th or 16th century, the unity of Italy is referenced and the author's focus is clearly on nationalism and modern times. The writing, despite the book being marketed as a guide or introductory work for non-specialists, lacks the pace necessary for an non-academic audience and also sinks into odd details. For example, it is noted how train tunnels were not build as much in Italy because they were considered an "immoral" influence on society. No supportive information or explanation is provided to this idea. When reading about "German" history, other authors give significant consideration to all time periods despite the fact that these lands were not united until the 19th century. This author just seems to have gone off on a tangent without an editor and without much consideration for the title of the work.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. Cochran on July 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
To describe this book! The history begins in 1860 when Italy actually became an organized country. If you are looking for info prior to that, buy a book on Greek and Roman history. Very readable, lots of info, great if you just want to get your feet wet with Italian history.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Michael T. Pearse on August 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a very brief overview, giving an excellent introduction to the non-specialist whilst simultaneously providing food for thought to those already in the know. And it is a model of good, stimulating writing. The first two chapters alone are worth the cover price. The only disadvantage is that the coverage of the early and central Middle Ages is way too thin, even for such a short book. But the emphasis upon how recent is the construction of Italian 'nationhood' is excellently argued, and put me in mind of Graham Robb's recent "The Discovery of France". Great stuff!
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A Concise History of Italy (Cambridge Concise Histories)
This item: A Concise History of Italy (Cambridge Concise Histories)
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