Following the Second World War and the collapse of the Fascist experiment, the debate on the personality and policies of the figure who dominated Italy in the pre-World War I period resumed. The controversy reached the English speaking world with the publication of A. William Salomone important and interesting study, Italian Democracy in the Making: The Political Scene in the Giolittian Era 1900-1914. The Introduction to this work was written by Gaetano Salvemini, Giolitti's most outspoken critic. In this Introduction Salvemini seemed to mitigate his opposition to the man he had dubbed the "Minister of the Underworld" and welcomed the opportunity to reexamine the Giolittian age. Struck by the objectivity of the American author's work, Salvemini confessed that oftentimes Italians were too involved in the issues to display the same detachment.
Since Salomone's volume had been a general survey and many aspects of the Giolittian years were still little studied, I proposed to examine Giolitti's economic policies and their relationship to his overall political program. When I discussed my plans with Professor Salomone, this scholar provided both encouragement and concrete bibliographical suggestions. Giving generously of his time and energy, he later agreed to read my manuscript sharing his valuable insights of the period. I am deeply indebted to him for letting me impose upon his interest in the problem and his good nature.
I am also grateful to the economist Bruno Foa who read the manuscript and provided some thoughtful observations. A number of Italian historians were kind enough to discuss the theme of my work and the numerous problems which such a study entailed. Nino Valeri, Rosario Romeo and Giampiero Carocci all displayed an interest and provided helpful suggestions. I am also indebted to Professors John Zeender and Joseph Moody of the Catholic University of America and John Brennan of Long Island University for their advice and assistance. Needless to say the shortcomings in the work are my own.
The only member of the Giolitti family presently in politics, the honorable Antonio Giolitti, was kind enough to grant me an interview. He and other members of the Giolitti family were extremely gracious. I should also like to acknowledge the assistance of the