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Italy and Its Invaders Paperback – March 17, 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (March 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674030338
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674030336
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,676,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Although Arnaldi claims he's not trying to find the central thread running through Italian history, his book certainly indicates that he has found one such theme: the relationship between "foreigners" and Italians, from the Germanic invaders in Roman times to the participation of Austrians in the formation of the Italian nation-state in the late 19th century. For Arnaldi, a professor emeritus of medieval history in Italy, religion has been a major aspect of this interaction. His evaluation of the impact of invasion is mixed. He praises the legacies in architecture and agriculture left by Muslim forces who took control of Sicily in the ninth century, but understandably, he's less sanguine about the epidemic of syphilis that spread after the French invasion in the 16th century. Soon thereafter, Spanish control of parts of Italy maintained religious unity, but kept Italy from being a major participant in the Enlightenment. Despite this, Arnaldi is positive about the role Christianity has played in the history of both Italy and the rest of Europe; there was, he writes, "no effective social glue comparable with Christianity." The book assumes a reader's knowledge of basic Italian history; for such readers, it has much to offer. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


[Arnaldi's] interests stretch from the sack of Rome by Alaric to the American liberation of Italy in World War II...This elegant volume is an opportunity to consider the broad sweeps of history, illustrated through selected examples...It in some ways accomplishes more than the author claims, by making clear the central issues of Italian identity over centuries, and illustrating the shifting nature of how Italians have viewed themselves. A reader will be enriched by understanding the central flow of events that Arnaldi presents in their broadest context. (John Lewis Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2006-03-30)

Arnaldi's book is a little gem, informative and fair on the historical vicissitudes of the peninsula. (Antonio Santosuosso International History Review 2006-09-01)

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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By lordhoot on December 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Girolamo Arnaldi's book reflects on how Italy was invaded by its invaders and how these invaders in turn, became Italians themselves. Arnaldi traces the military history of Italy from the fall of the Western Roman Empire to the creation of modern Italy. He summarized his account while maintaining the connection that Italians of today is made up collective host of foreign invaders of the past. The common root of all these foreign hosts was Christianity and that was the "glue" that held Italy together.

I found the book to somewhat interesting but also tedious in some ways. In 203 pages of narrative, the author went through nearly 1400 hrs of history while trying to connect the dots. The writing is very sweeping and general as the author tries to study the relationship between Italy and her foreign invaders who become Italians themselves and had to deal with new foreign invaders. Almost like an everlasting circle of events.

I thought the book might be better served if the author kept to a single time era, a closer look at native Italians versus invaders might be studied and see how these invaders became Italians themselves.
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