Marla Stone. the Fascist Revolution in Italy: A Brief History with Documents

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Marla Stone. The Fascist Revolution in Italy: A Brief History with Documents. New York: Bedford/St. Martins Press, 2013. Pp. 180. Paper, $15.00; ISBN 978-0-31245415-9.

Is Fascism alive in 2014? Federico Finchelstein and Fabian Bosoer posed this question in their op-ed piece in the New York Times in December 2013 titled "Is Fascism Returning to Europe?" Indeed, it appears Fascism and neo-Fascist parties are on the rise in different parts of Europe, partly in response to ongoing austerity measures and continuing job crises. Do these recent developments mirror what Fascism was to Italy between the 1920s and 1940s? In order to understand the present, we must make an effort to grasp the past, particularly the origins of this ideology in Italy. Marla Stone's The Fascist Revolution in Italy: A Brief History with Documents is an excellent resource for this undertaking, for it examines "the tools used by the Fascist party to assume and maintain power in Italy and the experience of the party's rule" (vi).

Stone, a historian of Modern Europe and specifically of Italian politics and culture at Occidental College, takes on the task of piecing together a tome that would be suitable for undergraduate students in a class devoted to this topic. She is well suited for this endeavor, as she has published several books and articles on Italian Fascism, most notably with The Patron State: Culture and Politics in Fascist Italy. Her most recent work, The Fascist Revolution in Italy, is part of The Bedford Series in History and Culture. In line with the goal of this series, the book is designed to allow the student to become the "historian," fusing together secondary and mostly primary excerpts dated from the time period. Included in this work is a written collection of speeches, laws, manifestos, reflections, school curriculum plans, and other programs. Moreover, fascism as a visual culture is revealed here as well, as there is an assortment of photographs, paintings, and maps. Last, the book also includes several reference tools, such as chronology, mini bibliography, index, and "Questions for Consideration." This variety of historical tools induces the reader not only to read the collection, but also to reflect on the time period and context of fascism in Italy. …