A History of Contemporary Italy: Society and Politics: by Paul Ginsburg

By Paul Ginsburg

During this long-awaited booklet (already a tremendous bestseller in Italy), Ginsborg has created a desirable, refined and definitive account of ways Italy has coped, or didn't cope, with the previous twenty years. modern Italy strongly mirrors Britain - the nations have approximately an identical volume, inhabitants dimension and GNP - and but they're superbly various. Ginsborg sees this distinction as such a lot essentially transparent within the position of the relations and it's the kin that's on the center of Italian politics and enterprise. an individual wishing to appreciate modern Italy will locate it necessary to have this drastically beautiful and clever publication.

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The very nature of their work, dispersed and without guarantees of continuity, explains the absence of farmhouses and the existence of the large agro-towns of the southern interior. From these towns every day before dawn the peasants would set out for work, carrying their agricultural implements with them. Often they had to walk many kilometres before reaching the plot of land which was theirs to cultivate for a year. They returned home after dusk. 30 Italy at War As for the women, the head of the cooperative of Pietropao1o in the Crotonese (south-east Calabria) had this to tell Giovanni Russo in 1949: The women are above all slaves: a woman is really on the lowest rung of the social scale.

Togliatti, fifty-one years old in 1944, was the son of a schoolmistress and a petty clerk; he had been with Gramsci in Turin after the First World War, and was one of the founders of the Italian Communist Party in 1921. After the rise of Fascism he had taken refuge in Russia, where he rapidly rose to become the Vice-Secretary of the Comintern. Astute, cautious, cultured and disdainful, Togliatti was a born survivor, a quality that stood him in good stead in the Moscow of the 1930s. While obviously a loyal supporter of Stalin, Togliatti had the great merit of thinking creatively and strategically in an international Communist move­ ment noted for its dogma and fideism.

They make us kill off our goats, they carry away our furniture, and now they're going to send us to the wars. ' is 'Cuntrastamu', We are resisting:76 Some families obviously 32 Italy at War resisted better than others, but it took only a small calamity - the death of a mule, the division of a property, the illness of one of the men - to drive a slightly better-off family back to the direst poverty. From the bitter experi­ ence of many battles fought and lost, of many promises made and never kept, of emigration and of war, the southern peasantry had developed a philosophy which mixed fatalism, solidarity and distrust.

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