Since its creation in 1861, Italy has struggled to develop an effective political system and a secure sense of national identity. This concise history covers the period from the fall of the Roman Empire in the west to the present day, but focuses on the difficulties Italy has faced in forging a nation state during the past two centuries. The opening chapters consider the geographical and cultural obstacles to unity, and survey the long centuries of political fragmentation in the peninsula since the sixth century. It was this legacy of fragmentation that Italy's new rulers had to strive to overcome when the country became united, more by accident than design, in 1859-61.
Christopher Duggan is Professor of Modern Italian History at the University of Reading. He has written extensively on many aspects of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Italy. His books include Fascism and the Mafia (1989), Francesco Crispi: From Nation to Nationalism (2002), The Force of Destiny: A History of Italy since 1796 (2007) and Fascist Voices: An Intimate History of Mussolini's Italy (2012). All his books have been translated into Italian. He is a Commendatore of the Ordine della Stella della Solidarietà Italiana, a title conferred by the President of Italy.
List of illustrations; List of tables; Preface; Introduction; 1. The geographical determinants of disunity; 2. Disunity and conflict: from the Romans to the renaissance, 400–1849; 3. Stagnation and reform, 1494–1789; 4. The emergence of the national question, 1789–1849; 5. Italy united; 6. The liberal state and the social question, 1870–1900; 7. Giolitti, the first world war, and the rise of fascism; 8. Fascism; 9. The republic; Select bibliography; Index.