Adrian Lyttelton is a Fellow of the Johns Hopkins ­University Center in Bologna and the author of The Seizure of Power: Fascism in Italy, 1919–1929.
 (December 2019)

IN THE REVIEW

Under the Tuscan Gun

Italian civilians crossing the Arno River over the ruins of a bridge destroyed by German forces, Florence, April 1944

A Chill in the Air: An Italian War Diary, 1939–1940

by Iris Origo, with an introduction by Lucy Hughes-Hallett and an afterword by Katia Lysy

War in Val d’Orcia: An Italian War Diary, 1943–1944

by Iris Origo, with an introduction by Virginia Nicholson
Iris Origo was born in 1902 into a wealthy and cultured family. Her parents’ marriage was one of those matches between American fortunes and British aristocrats so typical around the turn of the century. The old money on her father’s side had spectacularly increased under her grandfather, William Bayard Cutting, …

Italia Nostra

Mission Italy: On the Front Lines of the Cold War

by Richard N. Gardner, with a foreword by Zbigniew Brzezinski
Among the postwar American ambassadors to the Italian Republic, Richard Gardner was certainly the most highly qualified. A professor of international law at Columbia, he was the author of a highly regarded study, Sterling-Dollar Diplomacy. He had already served as deputy assistant secretary of state in the Kennedy administration, and …

What Was Fascism?

The Anatomy of Fascism

by Robert O. Paxton
Why is fascism such an elusive object of inquiry? As Robert Paxton notes at the outset of his study, the image of fascism has a deceptive clarity: Everyone is sure they know what fascism is. The most self-consciously visual of all political forms, fascism presents itself to us in vivid …

Radical and Rich

Feltrinelli

by Carlo Feltrinelli, translated from the Italian by Alastair McEwan
Thirty years after his death, the Italian publisher Giangiacomo Feltrinelli remains an enigma. In some ways, the sensitive, detailed biography written by his son makes the enigma appear still more perplexing. The Feltrinelli who is most securely embedded in the collective memory is the would-be revolutionary and terrorist, a figure …

The Crusade Against Cosa Nostra

Excellent Cadavers: The Mafia and the Death of the First Italian Republic

by Alexander Stille
A few years ago it was fashionable to deny the reality of the mafia as an organization. In Italy, it was said, Mafia (rather than “the mafia”) was just a set of common values and attitudes which made it possible for Sicilian criminals to communicate and cooperate with one another.

Italy: The Triumph of TV

Silvio Berlusconi has turned Italian politics inside out like a rubber glove. The old Italian politics of the First Republic, established in 1946, were based on the assumption that what was publicly visible, or audible, had no intrinsic significance. What mattered was what lay behind the speaker’s words. Hence the …