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Italy's Divided Memory

Overview

In this groundbreaking study, John Foot argues that contemporary Italian history has been marked by a tendency towards divided memory. Events have been interpreted in contrasting ways, and the facts themselves often contested. Moreover, with so little agreement over what happened, and why it happened, it has been extremely difficult to create any consensus around memory. These divisions can be identified throughout Italian history, but take on particular importance when linked to the great traumatic and ...

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Overview

In this groundbreaking study, John Foot argues that contemporary Italian history has been marked by a tendency towards divided memory. Events have been interpreted in contrasting ways, and the facts themselves often contested. Moreover, with so little agreement over what happened, and why it happened, it has been extremely difficult to create any consensus around memory. These divisions can be identified throughout Italian history, but take on particular importance when linked to the great traumatic and life-changing events of the twentieth century—war, terrorism, disaster, fascism. They also manifest themselves in cultural fields such as sport and everyday life. This work delves into Italy’s past, looking at stories of divided memory over various periods in the twentieth century, and points the way toward a fresh understanding of Italian history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“John Foot’s book Italy’s Divided Memory offers a fascinating account of the sometimes grotesque battles to honour or dishonour this or that Fascist or Communist, with politicians on both sides putting up or tearing down plaques and monuments, naming and renaming streets, to suit their version of events.”—London Review of Books
 
“In the case of Italy, Foot insists at the outset of his book that Italian memories have often been divided and that ‘events have been interpreted in contrasting ways.’ Divided memory and public memory, itself little studied and understood as consisting of monuments and public commemorations, are his subjects. Written succinctly and with intense engagement with its subjects, this is an exemplary study. Superb bibliography. Essential.” –CHOICE     

“Foot offers a fascinating new perspective on modern Italian history and historiography, amounting to something like an Italian version of the ‘culture wars.’  Italy since unification has lived a split history, punctuated again and again by division, strife, and civil conflict. Foot shows how these civil wars have haunted the nation long after the event through decades-long ‘memory wars,’ evident in public discourse and politics, in parks, streets and squares, monuments and memorial sites throughout the peninsula. Written in the light of the most sophisticated recent work on memory and oral history, and picking up on the furious controversies over the divided memory of the anti-Fascist Resistance, Foot’s book teases out the extraordinary play of contradiction and silence in history and memory. This is an extremely suggestive and rich work.”—Robert S. C. Gordon, Cambridge University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230120495
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 10/11/2011
  • Series: Italian & Italian American Studies Series
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,125,806
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

John Foot is Professor of Modern Italian History in the Department of Italian, University College London. His previous publications include Milan since the Miracle. City, Culture and Identity (2001), Disastro! Disasters in Italy since 1860: Culture, Politics, Society edited with John Dickie and Frank Snowden (Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), Modern Italy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), Italian Cityscapes: Culture and Urban Change in Italy from the 1950s to the Present Day edited with Robert Lumley (2004), and Calcio: A History of Italian Football (2006). He also directed the documentary film Piazzale Lugano, 22: Story of a House (2004). He writes for the London Review of Books and The Guardian.

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Table of Contents

Divided Memory. Theory, Methodology, Practice
• World War One. Monument wars, Unknown Soldiers and Open-Air Cemetries
• Fascist Memories, Memories of Fascism
• Italian wartime camps, Italians in wartime camps. Traces, Memories, Silences, 1940-2008
• 1940-1943. Victory, Occupation, Defeat, Collapse, Memory
• Nazi massacres and divided memory. Stories, causes, scapegoats, memoryscapes
• The Resistance. Three Wars, Many Memories, Many Silences
• The Strategy of Tension and terrorism. Piazza Fontana and ‘the Moro case’

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