The Pursuit of Italy: A History of a Land, Its Regions and Their Peoples (Hardback)
  • The Pursuit of Italy: A History of a Land, Its Regions and Their Peoples (Hardback)
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The Pursuit of Italy: A History of a Land, Its Regions and Their Peoples (Hardback)

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£25.00
Hardback Published: 03/03/2011

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Visiting a villa built by Lorenzo de Medici outside Pisa, David Gilmour fell into conversation about the unification of Italy with a distinguished former minister: '"You know, Davide," he said in a low conspiratorial voice, as if nervously uttering a heresy, "Garibaldi did Italy a great disservice. If he had not invaded Sicily and Naples, we in the north would have the richest and most civilized state in Europe." After looking round the room at the other guests, he added in an even lower voice, "Of course to the south we would have a neighbour like Egypt."' These words stayed in the author's mind for a long time. The dream of a unified Italy, how and why it has never been more than a dream, became the subject of a book he has been thinking about and writing for the last twenty years. Was the elderly Italian right? "The Pursuit of Italy" traces the whole history of the Italian peninsula since the Romans in a wonderfully readable style, full of well-chosen stories and observations from personal experience, and peopled by many of the great figures of the Italian past, from Cicero and Virgil to Machiavelli and the Medici, Garibaldi and Cavour, and the rather less inspiring political figures of the 20th century. Gilmour gives a clear-eyed view of the Risorgimento, the pivotal event in modern Italian history, debunking the many absurd and influential myths which have grown up around it but including a particularly sympathetic portrait of Giuseppe Verdi, one of many cultural figures he treats. Gilmour shows that the glory of Italy has always lain in its regions, with their distinctive civic cultures, cuisine, art and identities. Similarly, most of the people of the peninsula have thought of themselves first as Tuscans, Venetians, Romans, Neapolitans or Sicilians and as Italians second, if at all. This, he argues, is where the strength of Italy lies rather than in misconceived ideas of unity. This wise and enormously engaging book explains the course of Italian history in a manner and with a coherence which no one with any interest in the country could fail to enjoy.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9781846142512
Weight: 804 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 42 mm

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“brilliant”

I read this while on holiday in Italy which probably added to my enjoyment of the book, its an engaging and lively run through of why Italy is how it is.
there's plenty of colour to the history, I did get... More

Paperback edition
Helpful? Upvote 36

“A Disappointing Read”

I found this summary of Italian history a great disappointment. It is written with considerable bias with a continuous barrage of criticism of Italians throughout. I feel that some of the criticism stems from the... More

Paperback edition
Helpful? Upvote 8

“A cri de coeur for what Italy could be.”

in the summer of 2020, my wife and I took a month-long road trip through Italy, From Turin through to Naples- and much of what Gilmour says is reflective of my experiences of the nation. There is so much to admire, so... More

Paperback edition
Helpful? Upvote 5

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