Presenting the history of modern Italy from the 18th century to the present, this book begins with a brief introduction to the legacy of the Renaissance and the 17th century. Di Scala fills a serious gap in the field, synthesizing modern Italian history, placing it in a fully European context. He also critically re-examines certain traditional historical interpretations and assumptions. The "European context" ranges from the Enlightenment to unity, to liberalism, to the South, to Fascism, and to the Republic.
The book gives prominence to social, economic, and cultural developments while providing a picture of how ordinary Italians lived. Di Scala discusses the role of women and gives ample attention to the Italian South, not only in terms of the "problems" of that region, but also in terms of its active participation in the historical and cultural life of the nation.
Cast in a clear and lively style that will appeal to students, Di Scala’s work makes a strong contribution to the field by providing different historical interpretations of events in Italian history by incorporating the most recent scholarly contributions in his analyses. The book includes a rich bibliographic essay designed to guide undergraduate and graduate students to further reading on the various topics under consideration.
Spencer M. Di Scala is professor of history at the University of Massachusetts— Boston. The author of numerous scholarly books and articles, he also writes frequently on Italian politics and culture for the Christian Science Monitor.