‘Il Duce’, Benito Mussolini, was one of the key figures in the creation of fascism. Famed for his dictatorial style, his political cunning and admired – initially – by Hitler, Mussolini led the National Fascist Party and ruled Italy as Prime Minister from 1922 until his ousting in 1943. In so doing, he paved the way towards Italy’s defeat in World War Two, and some of the 20th century’s most destructive ideologies and practices.
Following expulsion from Italian Socialist Party, Mussolini denounced all efforts of class conflict, and instead later commanded a Fascist March on Rome to become the youngest Prime Minister in Italian history. Thereafter he set about dismantling the apparatus of democracy and initiated what would become known as the one-party totalitarian state. With World War II came defeat, humiliation and his bloody deposing. Explaining his ideologies, policies, actions and flaws, ‘Mussolini: History in an Hour’ is the concise life of the man whose ideas helped create some of the worst horrors of the modern history.
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Saviano tells of huge cargoes of Chinese goods that are shipped to Naples and then quickly distributed unchecked across Europe. He investigates the Camorra's control of thousands of Chinese factories contracted to manufacture fashion goods, legally and illegally, for distribution around the world, and relates the chilling details of how the abusive handling of toxic waste is causing devastating pollution not only for Naples but also China and Somalia. In pursuit of his subject, Saviano worked as an assistant at a Chinese textile manufacturer, a waiter at a Camorra wedding, and on a construction site. A native of the region, he recalls seeing his first murder at the age of fourteen, and how his own father, a doctor, suffered a brutal beating for trying to aid an eighteen-year-old victim who had been left for dead in the street.
Gomorrah is a bold and important work of investigative writing that holds global significance, one heroic young man's impassioned story of a place under the rule of a murderous organization.
“Sprezzatura,” or the art of effortless mastery, was coined in 1528 by Baldassare Castiglione in The Book of the Courtier. No one has demonstrated effortless mastery throughout history quite like the Italians. From the Roman calendar and the creator of the modern orchestra (Claudio Monteverdi) to the beginnings of ballet and the creator of modern political science (Niccolò Machiavelli), Sprezzatura highlights fifty great Italian cultural achievements in a series of fifty information-packed essays in chronological order.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
AS A RECON SCOUT IN WORLD WAR II.
From Africa’s Sahara Desert, where he met Churchill, to the plains of Tunisia, where he served under Patton, Fred Salter executed daring nightly solo missions, risking his life to gather the vital intelligence the U.S. Army desperately needed. After the battlefields of Sicily came the long, grueling effort to wrench Italy from the grip of the Nazis, and the bloody nightmare of Monte Cassino, the longest battle Americans fought during the war.
Salter spares no one, least of all himself, in this tough, clear-eyed account. Refusing to shy away from the horrors and fears of combat, he shares experiences–tragic and glorious–that will haunt him forever.
From the Paperback edition.
They burst out of obscurity in Spain not only to capture the great prize of the papacy, but to do so twice. Throughout a tumultuous half-century—as popes, statesmen, warriors, lovers, and breathtakingly ambitious political adventurers—they held center stage in the glorious and blood-drenched pageant known to us as the Italian Renaissance, standing at the epicenter of the power games in which Europe’s kings and Italy’s warlords gambled for life-and-death stakes.
Five centuries after their fall—a fall even more sudden than their rise to the heights of power—they remain immutable symbols of the depths to which humanity can descend: Rodrigo Borgia, who bought the papal crown and prostituted the Roman Church; Cesare Borgia, who became first a teenage cardinal and then the most treacherous cutthroat of a violent time; Lucrezia Borgia, who was as shockingly immoral as she was beautiful. These have long been stock figures in the dark chronicle of European villainy, their name synonymous with unspeakable evil.
But did these Borgias of legend actually exist? Grounding his narrative in exhaustive research and drawing from rarely examined key sources, Meyer brings fascinating new insight to the real people within the age-encrusted myth. Equally illuminating is the light he shines on the brilliant circles in which the Borgias moved and the thrilling era they helped to shape, a time of wars and political convulsions that reverberate to the present day, when Western civilization simultaneously wallowed in appalling brutality and soared to extraordinary heights.
Stunning in scope, rich in telling detail, G. J. Meyer’s The Borgias is an indelible work sure to become the new standard on a family and a world that continue to enthrall.
Praise for The Borgias
“A vivid and at times startling reappraisal of one of the most notorious dynasties in history . . . If you thought you knew the Borgias, this book will surprise you.”—Tracy Borman, author of Queen of the Conqueror and Elizabeth’s Women
“The mention of the Borgia family often conjures up images of a ruthless drive for power via assassination, serpentine plots, and sexual debauchery. . . . [G. J. Meyer] convincingly looks past the mythology to present a more nuanced portrait.”—Booklist
“Meyer brings his considerable skills to another infamous Renaissance family, the Borgias [and] a fresh look into the machinations of power in Renaissance Italy. . . . [He] makes a convincing case that the Borgias have been given a raw deal.”—Historical Novels Review
“Fascinating . . . a gripping history of a tempestuous time and an infamous family.”—Shelf Awareness
From the Hardcover edition.
The New York Times bestselling author of Empires of the Sea charts Venice’s astounding five-hundred-year voyage to the pinnacle of power in an epic story that stands unrivaled for drama, intrigue, and sheer opulent majesty. City of Fortune traces the full arc of the Venetian imperial saga, from the ill-fated Fourth Crusade, which culminates in the sacking of Constantinople in 1204, to the Ottoman-Venetian War of 1499–1503, which sees the Ottoman Turks supplant the Venetians as the preeminent naval power in the Mediterranean. In between are three centuries of Venetian maritime dominance, during which a tiny city of “lagoon dwellers” grow into the richest place on earth. Drawing on firsthand accounts of pitched sea battles, skillful negotiations, and diplomatic maneuvers, Crowley paints a vivid picture of this avaricious, enterprising people and the bountiful lands that came under their dominion. From the opening of the spice routes to the clash between Christianity and Islam, Venice played a leading role in the defining conflicts of its time—the reverberations of which are still being felt today.
“[Crowley] writes with a racy briskness that lifts sea battles and sieges off the page.”—The New York Times
“Crowley chronicles the peak of Venice’s past glory with Wordsworthian sympathy, supplemented by impressive learning and infectious enthusiasm.”—The Wall Street Journal
Combining a nuanced history with a unique counternarrative concerning stereotypes of the immigrant, Salvatore Lupo, a leading historian of modern Italy and a major authority on its criminal history, has written the definitive account of the Sicilian Mafia from 1860 to the present. Consulting rare archival sources, he traces the web of associations, both illicit and legitimate, that have defined Cosa Nostra during its various incarnations. He focuses on several crucial periods of transition: the Italian unification of 1860 to 1861, the murder of noted politician Notarbartolo, fascist repression of the Mafia, the Allied invasion of 1943, social conflicts after each world war, and the major murders and trials of the 1980s.
Lupo identifies the internal cultural codes that define the Mafia and places these codes within the context of social groups and communities. He also challenges the belief that the Mafia has grown more ruthless in recent decades. Rather than representing a shift from "honorable" crime to immoral drug trafficking and violence, Lupo argues the terroristic activities of the modern Mafia signify a new desire for visibility and a distinct break from the state. Where these pursuits will take the family adds a fascinating coda to Lupo's work.
Starting on a personal note, Hughes takes us to the Rome he first encountered as a hungry twenty-one-year-old fresh from Australia in 1959. From that exhilarating portrait, he takes us back more than two thousand years to the city's foundation, one mired in mythologies and superstitions that would inform Rome's development for centuries.
From the beginning, Rome was a hotbed of power, overweening ambition, desire, political genius, and corruption. Hughes details the turbulent years that saw the formation of empire and the establishment of the sociopolitical system, along the way providing colorful portraits of all the major figures, both political (Julius Caesar, Marcus Aurelius, Nero, Caligula) and cultural (Cicero, Martial, Virgil), to name just a few. For almost a thousand years, Rome would remain the most politically important, richest, and largest city in the Western world.
From the formation of empire, Hughes moves on to the rise of early Christianity, his own antipathy toward religion providing rich and lively context for the brutality of the early Church, and eventually the Crusades. The brutality had the desired effect—the Church consolidated and outlasted the power of empire, and Rome would be the capital of the Papal States until its annexation into the newly united kingdom of Italy in 1870.
As one would expect, Hughes lavishes plenty of critical attention on the Renaissance, providing a full survey of the architecture, painting, and sculpture that blossomed in Rome over the course of the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries, and shedding new light on old masters in the process. Having established itself as the artistic and spiritual center of the world, Rome in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries saw artists (and, eventually, wealthy tourists) from all over Europe converging on the bustling city, even while it was caught up in the nationalistic turmoils of the Italian independence struggle and war against France.
Hughes keeps the momentum going right into the twentieth century, when Rome witnessed the rise and fall of Italian Fascism and Mussolini, and took on yet another identity in the postwar years as the fashionable city of "La Dolce Vita." This is the Rome Hughes himself first encountered, and it's one he contends, perhaps controversially, has been lost in the half century since, as the cult of mass tourism has slowly ruined the dazzling city he loved so much. Equal parts idolizing, blasphemous, outraged, and awestruck, Rome is a portrait of the Eternal City as only Robert Hughes could paint it.
From the Hardcover edition.
As well as his vivid account of the erection of the Colosseum, Mr Pearson discusses the origins of death spectacles and their evolution into highly organized games intended to enhance imperial prestige and provide the populace with an effective substitute for politics and war. 'Butchered to make a Roman holiday', the victims of this lust for slaughter were slaves and criminals, the human surplus of their day, coached for an almost certain death. One chapter highlights the perverted death-wish of many early would-be martyrs and decisively establishes that there is no evidence for the death of a single Christian martyr in the Colosseum.
The book concludes with a brief survey of the building's subsequent history; looted and despoiled yet still the embodiment of Rome's spirit and greatness, it became a sublime romantic ruin, now exposed by slum-clearance as a gigantic traffic island. Mr Pearson is acutely aware of the violence that was endemic in Roman society, and in his shrewd analysis he draws disturbing parallels with the twentieth-century situation.
As a young man with a gift for linguistics, Norman Lewis was assigned to the British Intelligence Corps’ Field Security Service, tasked with reforming civil services, dealing with local leaders, and keeping the peace in places World War II had devastated.
After a near-disastrous Allied landing at Salerno, Italy, Lewis was stationed in the newly liberated city of Naples. But bringing the city back to life was unlike anything he had been prepared for. Much of the populace was far from grateful, stealing anything they could, not only from each other but also from those sent to help them. Local vendettas and endless feuds made discerning friend from Nazi collaborator practically impossible, and turned attempts at meting out justice into a farce. And as the deprivations grew ever harsher, a proud and vibrant people were forced to survive on a diet of prostitution, corruption, and a desperate belief in miracles, cures, and saviors.
But even through the darkness and chaos, Lewis evokes the essential dignity of the Neapolitan people, their traditions of civility, courage, and generosity of spirit, and the indefatigable pride that kept them fighting for life during the greatest calamity in human history. And with his detached British wit, Lewis finds the absurdity in almost any situation.
A masterpiece of a memoir, Naples ’44 is the heartbreaking, humorous, and starkly human account of the true cost of war as seen through the eyes of a young, untested man who would never again look at his world the same way.
The new edition has been thoroughly rewritten. It also contains a number of new documents. In addition, all the most up to date research of the last 20 years has been incorporated.
The Risorgimento and the Unification of Italy
remains the major text on nineteenth century Italy. The long introduction and useful footnotes will be of real assistance to those interested in Italian unification.
A strategist to match Machiavelli; a warrior who stood toe to toe with the Borgias; a wife whose three marriages would end in bloodshed and heartbreak; and a mother determined to maintain her family’s honor, Caterina Riario Sforza de’ Medici was a true Renaissance celebrity, beloved and vilified in equal measure. In this dazzling biography, Elizabeth Lev illuminates her extraordinary life and accomplishments.
Raised in the court of Milan and wed at age ten to the pope’s corrupt nephew, Caterina was ensnared in Italy’s political intrigues early in life. After turbulent years in Rome’s papal court, she moved to the Romagnol province of Forlì. Following her husband’s assassination, she ruled Italy’s crossroads with iron will, martial strength, political savvy, and an icon’s fashion sense. In finally losing her lands to the Borgia family, she put up a resistance that inspired all of Europe and set the stage for her progeny—including Cosimo de’ Medici—to follow her example to greatness.
A rich evocation of Renaissance life, The Tigress of Forlì reveals Caterina Riario Sforza as a brilliant and fearless ruler, and a tragic but unbowed figure.
“A rich, nuanced portrait of a highly controversial beauty and military leader, and her violent, albeit glittering, Italian Renaissance milieu.”—Publishers Weekly
“Well-written and meticulously researched, The Tigress of Forlì recreates the world of Renaissance Italy in all its grandeur and violence. At the center stands a remarkable woman, Caterina Riario Sforza. Mother, warrior, and icon, Caterina is unforgettable, and so is the exciting story that Elizabeth Lev tells here.”—Barry Strauss, author of Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, and the Genius of Leadership
In The Honored Society award-winning investigative reporter Petra Reski reveals the Mafia menace lurking throughout the world-- from espresso bars in Palermo to European halls of parliament to the corporate headquarters of enormous agricultural firms. In haunting and exquisite prose she explores the Byzantine structure of the 'Ndrangheta, Cosa Nostra and other mafia clans throughout Italy -- the code they live by, the destruction they wreak, how they operate within the country and how they operate internationally. She shows how these syndicates dominate everything from nuclear waste disposal to hotel chains to the marijuana trade in Australia and cocaine trafficked throughout the world. Reski shows how figures such as Silvio Berlusconi were made by the Mafia, and how those who dared to defy its codes were broken. A searing portrait of the criminals who have come to control not only Italy but vast swathes of the globe, The Honored Society is a journalistic tour de force.
Combining his flair for storytelling with incisive historical analysis, Connor demonstrates how the Counter-Reformation arose from the ashes of Renaissance Italy, and how that sea change altered the course of Western history.
In 1448 a team of architects and engineers brought Pope Nicholas V unhappy news: the 1,100-year-old Basilica of St. Peter suffered from so many structural defects that it was beyond repair. The only solution was to pull down the old church--one of the most venerable churches in all of Christiandom--and erect a new basilica on the site. Incredibly, one of the tombs the builders paved over was the resting place of St. Peter.
Then in 1939, while reconstructing the grottoes below St. Peter's Basilica, a workman's shovel struck not dirt or rock but open air. After inspecting what could be seen through the hole they'd made in the mausoleum's roof, Pope Pius XII secretly authorized a full-scale excavation. What lay beneath? The answer and the adventure await. In this riveting history, facts, traditions, and faith collide to reveal the investigation, betrayals, and mystery behind St. Peter's burial place.
“In his elegantly accessible style, Goldsworthy offers gripping and swiftly erudite accounts of Roman wars and the great captains who fought them. His heroes are never flavorless and generic, but magnificently Roman. And it is especially Goldsworthy's vision of commanders deftly surfing the giant, irresistible waves of Roman military tradition, while navigating the floating logs, reefs, and treacherous sandbanks of Roman civilian politics, that makes the book indispensable not only to those interested in Rome and her battles, but to anyone who finds it astounding that military men, at once driven and imperiled by the odd and idiosyncratic ways of their societies, can accomplish great deeds.” —J. E. Lendon, author of Soldiers and Ghosts: A History of Battle in Classical Antiquity
"The tone of Liar Moon has a flu-like grimness, appropriate the 1943 setting. Pastor is excellent at providing details (silk stockings, movie magazines, cigarettes) that light up the setting."—Booklist
"Lumen's plot is well crafted, her prose shap . . . a disturbing mix of detection and reflection."—Publisher's Weekly
Rome, 1944. While the Allies are fighting their way up the Italian peninsula, Rome lives the last days of Nazi occupation. Their world is falling apart as the German Army, the Gestapo, and the SS vie for power while holding glittering and debauched parties. But this is also a time of Italian partisan attacks, arrests, and mass executions, all to the sound of Allied artillery bombardment just outside the walls of the city.
Baron Martin von Bora, an officer in the Wehrmacht, has the complex and delicate task of solving not one, but three murders. A young German embassy secretary has "accidentally" fallen to her death from a fourth-floor window, and a Roman society lady and a headstrong cardinal of the Roman Curia are found dead in her apartment. The cardinal is personally known to Bora and, like the officer, secretly active in the resistance against the Third Reich. With Italian police inspector Sandro Guidi at his side, Bora sets off to establish the truth. Different as they are, the two men confront crime, war, and dictatorship in the awareness that the dignity of man comes at a price beyond all imagination.
For the home cook and the armchair traveler alike, Lidia's Italy offers a short introduction to ten regions of Italy—from Piemonte to Puglia—with commentary on nearby cultural treasures by Lidia's daughter Tanya, an art historian.
· In Istria, now part of Croatia, where Lidia grew up, she forages again for wild asparagus, using it in a delicious soup and a frittata; Sauerkraut with Pork and Roast Goose with Mlinzi reflect the region’s Middle European influences; and buzara, an old mariner’s stew, draws on fish from the nearby sea.
· From Trieste, Lidia gives seafood from the Adriatic, Viennese-style breaded veal cutlets and Beef Goulash, and Sacher Torte and Apple Strudel.
· From Friuli, where cows graze on the rich tableland, comes Montasio cheese to make fricos; the corn fields yield polenta for Velvety Cornmeal-Spinach Soup.
· In Padova and Treviso rice reigns supreme, and Lidia discovers hearty soups and risottos that highlight local flavors.
· In Piemonte, the robust Barolo wine distinguishes a fork-tender stufato of beef; local white truffles with scrambled eggs is “heaven on a plate”; and a bagna cauda serves as a dip for local vegetables, including prized cardoons.
· In Maremma, where hunting and foraging are a way of life, earthy foods are mainstays, such as slow-cooked rabbit sauce for pasta or gnocchi and boar tenderloin with prune-apple Sauce, with Galloping Figs for dessert.
· In Rome Lidia revels in the fresh artichokes and fennel she finds in the Campo dei Fiori and brings back nine different ways of preparing them.
· In Naples she gathers unusual seafood recipes and a special way of making limoncello-soaked cakes.
· From Sicily’s Palermo she brings back panelle, the delicious fried chickpea snack; a caponata of stewed summer vegetables; and the elegant Cannoli Napoleon.
· In Puglia, at Italy’s heel, where durum wheat grows at its best, she makes some of the region’s glorious pasta dishes and re-creates a splendid focaccia from Altamura.
There’s something for everyone in this rich and satisfying book that will open up new horizons even to the most seasoned lover of Italy.
“Venice is a fish,” writes Tiziano Scarpa. “It’s like a vast sole stretched out against the deep. How did this marvelous beast make its way up the Adriatic and fetch up here, of all places?” Paying homage to his native city in a lyrical and evocative style, he guides readers down tiny alleys, over bridges, and through squares, daring us to lose ourselves, forget the guidebooks, and experience Venice as Venetians do.
Venice Is a Fish provides no hotel ratings or museum hours. Instead, in a delightful initiation, Scarpa tells us how to balance while standing on a gondola; where lovers will find the best secret hiding places; the finer points of etiquette and navigation during an agua alta; and how best to defend ourselves from the pitiless beauty of one of the world’s most stimulating cities. Open Venice Is a Fish, and Scarpa’s magnificent images, secret history, and hidden lore unfold like a treasure map of the senses.
Closer to home, the book considers the ability of the Roman church to gain access to wealth, retain it in difficult times, and disburse it in ways that enhanced its authority. Author John Moorhead evaluates patterns in the recruitment of popes and what these suggest about the background of those who came to papal office. Structured around a narrative of the papacy’s history from the accession of Leo the Great to the death of Zacharias II, the book does more than tell what happened between these years, applying new approaches in intellectual, cultural, and social history to provide a uniquely deep and holistic study of the period.
It became common practice during this time for unmarried women in elite society to enter convents. This unprecedented concentration of highly educated and well-connected women transformed convents into sites of great patronage and social and political influence. As their economic influence also grew, convents found new ways of supporting themselves; they established schools, produced manuscripts, and manufactured textiles.
Strocchia has mined previously untapped archival materials to uncover how convents shaped one of the principal cities of Renaissance Europe. She demonstrates the importance of nuns and nunneries to the booming Florentine textile industry and shows the contributions that ordinary nuns made to Florentine life in their roles as scribes, stewards, artisans, teachers, and community leaders. In doing so, Strocchia argues that the ideals and institutions that defined Florence were influenced in great part by the city’s powerful female monastics.
Nuns and Nunneries in Renaissance Florence shows for the first time how religious women effected broad historical change and helped write the grand narrative of medieval and Renaissance Europe. The book is a valuable text for students and scholars in early modern European history, religion, women’s studies, and economic history.
This thoroughly updated new edition synthesises the scholarship of the last ten years to consider Italian atrocities in Africa, and the reaction to them by ordinary Italians, in addition to a consideration of the relationship between Mussolini and Hitler while other periods of Mussolini’s life are expanded upon and reconsidered. Finally, the author considers Mussolini’s legacy and his continuing influence in modern Italy.
This biography gives students a useful analytical introduction to the period and the man and provides an explanation of what fascism was and why it resonated with so many people in Italy. It will be essential reading for all students of modern Italy and the history of fascism.
Native Neopolitan and distinguished scholar Tommaso Astarita gives us a history both erudite and full of personality—from the freethinking, cosmopolitan King Frederick who conferred with Jewish and Muslim philosophers (and dared to meet with the Sultan) to the fisherman Masaniello who inspired artists and revolutionaries across Europe. In the medieval South, Jews, Muslims, and Greek and Latin Christians could practice their religions, speak their languages, and live in mostly peaceful cohabitation. From the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, Naples was on par with Paris, one of the largest and most cultured cities in Europe. During the Enlightenment, southern Italy captured the European imagination, and many people traveled far and wide to enjoy southern Italy's ancient ruins, beautiful landscapes, sweet music, and magnificent art, marveling at the lively temperament of the southern population. The drama and beauty of the region inspired visitors to claim that one had to "see Naples, and then die." Yet negative images of the Italian South's poverty, violence, superstition and nearness to Africa long fueled stereotypes of what was and was not acceptably "European." Goethe noted that he had gladly studied in Rome, but in Naples he wanted "only to live," for "Naples is a Paradise: everyone lives in a state of intoxicated self-forgetfulness, myself included.
From the Normans and Angevins through Spanish and Bourbon rule to the unification of Italy in 1860 and the subsequent emigration of vast numbers of Southern Italians, Between Salt Water and Holy Water captures the rich, dynamic past of a vibrant land.
"A true story that surpasses any novel by John le Carré."—El País (Spain)
For five centuries, the Vatican—the oldest organization in the world, maker of kings and shaper of history—has used a secret spy service, called the Holy Alliance, or later, the Entity, to carry out its will. Forty popes have relied on it to carry out their policies. They have played a hitherto invisible role confronting de-Christianizations and schisms, revolutions and dictators, colonizations and expulsions, persecutions and attacks, civil wars and world wars, assassinations and kidnappings.
For the first time in English (following the bestselling Spanish and French editions), Eric Frattini tells the comprehensive tale of this sacred secret service. The Entity has been involved in the killings of monarchs, poisonings of diplomats, financing of South American dictators, protection of war criminals, laundering of Mafia money, manipulation of financial markets, provocation of bank failures, and financing of arms sales to combatants even as their wars were condemned, all in the name of God. The contradiction between God's justice and Earth's justice, Christian beliefs and Christian power all fall before the motto of the Entity: With the Cross and the Sword.
Contemporary speculation attributed this tragedy to either an unhappy love aff air with the American film star Constance Dawling or his growing disillusionment with the Italian Communist Party. His Diaries, however, reveal a man whose art was his only means of repressing the specter of suicide which had haunted him since childhood: an obsession that fi nally overwhelmed him.
As John Taylor notes, he possessed something much more precious than a political theory: a natural sensitivity to the plight and dignity of common people, be they bums, priests, grape-pickers, gas station attendants, offi ce workers, or anonymous girls picked up on the street (though to women, the author could--as he admitted--be as misogynous as he was aff ectionate). Bitter and incisive, This Business of Living, is both moving and painful to read and stands with James Joyce's Letters and Andre Gide's Journals as one of the great literary testaments of the twentieth century.
Cesare Pavese (1908-1950), was educated in Turin. In 1930 he began to contribute essays on American literature to La Cultura, of which he later became editor. In 1935 he was imprisoned for anti-fascist activities. This experience formed the basis of The Political Prisoner. Between 1936 and 1940 nine of his books were published in Italy, these included novels, short stories, poetry and essays. His books have been fi lmed and dramatized, and translated into many languages.
John Taylor, a frequent contributor to the Times Literary Supplement, Context, the Yale Review, the Antioch Review, the Michigan Quarterly Review, and Chelsea, has introduced numerous European writers and poets to English readers, often for the first time. Some of his works include The Apocalypse Tapestries, Paths to Contemporary French Literature (Volumes 1 and 2) and Into the Heart of European Poetry.
Lorenzo's grandfather Cosimo had converted the vast wealth of the family bank into political power, but from his earliest days Lorenzo's position was precarious. Bitter rivalries among the leading Florentine families and competition among the squabbling Italian states meant that Lorenzo's life was under constant threat. Those who plotted his death included a pope, a king, and a duke, but Lorenzo used his legendary charm and diplomatic skill -- as well as occasional acts of violence -- to navigate the murderous labyrinth of Italian politics. Against all odds he managed not only to survive but to preside over one of the great moments in the history of civilization.
Florence in the age of Lorenzo was a city of contrasts, of unparalleled artistic brilliance and unimaginable squalor in the city's crowded tenements; of both pagan excess and the fire-and-brimstone sermons of the Dominican preacher Savonarola. Florence gave birpth to both the otherworldly perfection of Botticelli's Primavera and the gritty realism of Machiavelli's The Prince. Nowhere was this world of contrasts more perfectly embodied than in the life and character of the man who ruled this most fascinating city.
A National Book Award Finalist
The extraordinary story of how the vatican's imprisonment of a six-year-old Jewish boy in 1858 helped to bring about the collapse of the popes' worldly power in Italy.
Bologna: nightfall, June 1858. A knock sounds at the door of the Jewish merchant Momolo Mortara. Two officers of the Inquisition bust inside and seize Mortara's six-year-old son, Edgardo. As the boy is wrenched from his father's arms, his mother collapses. The reason for his abduction: the boy had been secretly "baptized" by a family servant. According to papal law, the child is therefore a Catholic who can be taken from his family and delivered to a special monastery where his conversion will be completed.
With this terrifying scene, prize-winning historian David I. Kertzer begins the true story of how one boy's kidnapping became a pivotal event in the collapse of the Vatican as a secular power. The book evokes the anguish of a modest merchant's family, the rhythms of daily life in a Jewish ghetto, and also explores, through the revolutionary campaigns of Mazzini and Garibaldi and such personages as Napoleon III, the emergence of Italy as a modern national state. Moving and informative, the Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara reads as both a historical thriller and an authoritative analysis of how a single human tragedy changed the course of history.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
"Kertzer once again proves himself a truly compelling historian." -- André Aciman
"Prisoner of the Vatican reads like exciting fiction. And it has astounding contemporary relevance." -- Alfred Uhry
"Kertzer’s careful scholarship and lucid writing make the human character of this religious institution quite clear." -- James Carroll
"Fascinating." -- Entertainment Weekly
"Lively . . . filled with telling anecdotes and colorful descriptions of the various characters involved in the struggle." -- America, the National Catholic Weekly
"Riveting and fast-paced . . . history writing at its best." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review
"[A] rousing tale . . . from a masterful, controversial scholar." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"A chilling and timely warning of what happens when religious power becomes synonymous with political power. If you love Italy, if you love Rome, this book is essential reading." -- John Guare
"As magically spellbinding as it is enlightening, replete with colorful characters and complex international and ecclesiastical politics and intrigue. Kertzer is a national treasure and his latest book another masterpiece." -- Kevin Madigan, associate professor, Harvard Divinity School
"This book is a gift to everyone who welcomes the emergence of buried history, and a boon to anyone who has ever wondered about the origins of the wonderful, tenuously unified place called modern Italy." -- Tracy Kidder
David Kertzer’s absorbing history presents an astonishing account of the birth of modern Italy and the clandestine politics behind the Vatican’s last stand in the battle between church and the newly created Italian state. Drawing on a wealth of secret documents long buried in the Vatican archives, Kertzer reveals a fascinating story of outrageous accusations, mutual denunciations, raucous demonstrations, and secret dealings.
When Italy’s armies seized the Holy City and claimed it for the Italian capital, Pope Pius IX, outraged, retreated to the Vatican and declared himself a prisoner, calling on foreign powers to force the Italians out of Rome. The action set in motion decades of political intrigues that hinged on such fascinating characters as Garibaldi, King Viktor Emmanuel, Napoleon III, and Chancellor Bismarck. No one who reads this eye-opening book will ever think of Italy, or the Vatican, in quite the same way again.
"A gripping account of this little-known story." -- Washington Post
“A suspenseful and even captivating read . . . Kertzer illuminates one of history’s darker corners.” -- Providence Journal
"Extraordinary . . . Kertzer describes intrigue, spying, disinformation, and public relations campaigns worthy of any contemporary spy novel." -- Seattle Times
David I. Kertzer is author of several illuminating works of history, including The Popes Against the Jews and The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, a National Book Award finalist. A professor of anthropology and Italian studies at Brown University, he lives in Providence, Rhode Island.
The Code contains 20 recipes
From corruption to nepotism, from crusade to witch-burning to Inquisition, from popes sanctioning murder to popes being murdered, Dark History of The Popes explores more than 1000 years of sinister deeds surrounding the papacy. Ranging from the 9th century AD to Pope Pius XII’s position during World War II, the book examines political, religious and social history through the skulduggery of popes and courtiers, the role the Borgias family played in the papacy, the persecution of Jews and the religious controversy over Galileo Galilei’s heretical views, among other topics.
Using diaries, letters, reports from foreign ambassadors to the Vatican and official registers of the ecclesiastical courts, a picture of both sinning and sinned against popes is revealed. Packed with more than 200 colour and black-&-white photographs, paintings and artworks, Dark History of The Popes is an eye-opening account of the history of the papacy that pontiffs would rather not mention.
2002, and Restivo is now living in Bournemouth. In November that year, his neighbour is found murdered, with strands of her own hair in her hands. Once again the police are at a loss to pin anything on him. It's not until 2010, when Elisa's decomposed body is found in the church where she went missing, that the two cases are linked and Restivo is finally dealt with.
Blood on the Altar combines a gripping true crime case with Jones's deep understanding of Italian culture - the impunity it offers to the powerful - he so expertly demonstrated in his bestseller: The Dark Heart of Italy.
"A superlative work of historical scholarship."--Literary Review (UK)
A unique and enlightening look at Europe's so-called Dark Ages; the second volume in the Penguin History of Europe
Defying the conventional Dark Ages view of European history between A.D. 400 and 1000, award-winning historian Chris Wickham presents The Inheritance of Rome, a work of remarkable scope and rigorous yet accessible scholarship. Drawing on a wealth of new material and featuring a thoughtful synthesis of historical and archaeological approaches, Wickham agues that these centuries were critical in the formulation of European identity. From Ireland to Constantinople, the Baltic to the Mediterranean, the narrative constructs a vivid portrait of the vast and varied world of Goths, Franks, Vandals, Arabs, Saxons, and Vikings. Groundbreaking and full of fascinating revelations, The Inheritance of Rome offers a fresh understanding of the crucible in which Europe would ultimately be created.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
The House of Medici picks up where Barbara Tuchman's Hibbert delves into the lives of the Medici family, whose legacy of increasing self-indulgence and sexual dalliance eventually led to its self-destruction. With twenty-four pages of black-and-white illustrations, this timeless saga is one of Quill's strongest-selling paperbacks.
Did Garibaldi do Italy a disservice when he helped its disparate parts achieve unity? Was the goal of political unification a mistake? These questions are asked and answered in a number of ways in this engaging, original consideration of the many histories that contribute to the brilliance-and weakness-of Italy today.
David Gilmour's wonderfully readable exploration of Italian life over the centuries is filled with provocative anecdotes as well as personal observations, and is peopled with the great figures of the Italian past-from Cicero and Virgil to Dante and the Medicis, from Garibaldi and Cavour to the controversial politicians of the twentieth century. Gilmour's wise account of the Risorgimento, the pivotal epoch in modern Italian history, debunks the nationalistic myths that surround it, though he paints a sympathetic portrait of Giuseppe Verdi, a beloved hero of the era. Gilmour shows that the glory of Italy has always lain in its regions, with their distinctive art, civic cultures, identities, and cuisines. Italy's inhabitants identified themselves not as Italians but as Tuscans and Venetians, Sicilians and Lombards, Neapolitans and Genoese. Italy's strength and culture still come from its regions rather than from its misconceived, mishandled notion of a unified nation.
With The Pursuit of Italy, David Gilmour has provided a coherent, persuasive, and entertaining interpretation of the paradoxes of Italian life, past and present.