Frank J. Coppa is Professor of History at St. Johns University.
Although Coppa provides a guide to efficient and accountable county government, the book goes beyond its subtitle. It treats neglected topics, such as the legal status of counties, forms of county government, row officers, autonomous bodies, and the central role played by counties in reapportionment litigation. Supreme Court cases involving counties and critical issues such as free speech, elections, tax immunity, and the commerce clause are analyzed. Major issues such as the battle over ratables, revenue limits, and declining population are explored as well. Coppa examines the most critical issues faced by counties today--such as mandated expenditures--and raises the possibility of a constitutional amendment to treat unfunded federal mandates. Coppa recommends creative programs as well as an agenda for achieving efficient and accountable county government. To this end, he examines charter revision and the noncharter route as approaches to achieving economical and responsible county government. This work is an important analysis for students, scholars, researchers, and policy makers involved with local and state government issues.
Unlike many earlier studies of the papacy, which examine this unique institution as a self-contained unit and concentrate upon its role within the church, this study examines this key religious institution within the broader framework of national and international political, diplomatic, social, and economic events. Among other things, it explores such questions as the limits to be placed on national sovereignty; the Vatican's critique of capitalism and communism; the morality of warfare; and the need for an equitable international order.
Jones writes not just about Italy's art, climate, and cuisine but also about the much livelier and stranger sides of the Bel Paese: the language, soccer, Catholicism, cinema, television, and terrorism. Why, he wonders, does the parliament need a "slaughter commission"? Why do bombs still explode every time politics start getting serious? Why does everyone urge him to go home as soon as possible, saying that Italy is a "brothel"? Most of all, why does one man, Silvio Berlusconi--in the words of a famous song--appear to own everything from Padre Nostro (Our Father) to Cosa Nostra (the Mafia)?
The Italy that emerges from Jones's travels is a country scarred by civil wars and "illustrious corpses"; a country that is proudly visual rather than verbal, based on aesthetics rather than ethics; a country where crime is hardly ever followed by punishment; a place of incredible illusionism, where it is impossible to distinguish fantasy from reality and fact from fiction.
A New York Public Library Best Book of the Year
From the author of M and A Death in Brazil comes Midnight in Sicily.
South of mainland Italy lies the island of Sicily, home to an ancient culture that--with its stark landscapes, glorious coastlines, and extraordinary treasure troves of art and archeology--has seduced travelers for centuries. But at the heart of the island's rare beauty is a network of violence and corruption that reaches into every corner of Sicilian life: Cosa Nostra, the Mafia. Peter Robb lived in southern Italy for over fourteen years and recounts its sensuous pleasures, its literature, politics, art, and crimes.