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The Pursuit of Italy: A History of a Land, its Regions and their Peoples [Kindle Edition]

David Gilmour
5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (2 Kundenrezensionen)

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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

“Amazingly compendious . . . The best one-volume history of Italy now available . . . [The Pursuit of Italy] has the same tonic, exhilarating impact as the thigh-slapping overture to a Verdi opera.” —Jonathan Keates, The Literary Review

“[The Pursuit of Italy has] a freshness and readability often lacking in more laborious histories, an attractiveness reinforced by the quality of the writing, which is versatile and vivid and frequently witty, able to encompass both densely factual material and complicated narrative without loss of clarity or elegance . . . Compelling to read and highly informative . . . Brilliantly accomplished.” —Barry Unsworth, The Spectator

“Lucid and elegant, clever and provocative . . . Tracing Italy’s history from Romulus and Remus to the misdemeanours of Silvio Berlusconi, Gilmour develops his thesis with wit, style, and a great deal of learning.” —Dominic Sandbrook, The Sunday Times (London)

“[A] well-researched and engaging canter through the peninsula’s history.” —Peter Popham, The Independent

“[Gilmour is] a witty guide with an elegant prose style and a mind delightfully furnished with anec­dotes and dictums, sensual impressions and conversations . . . [His] prose smells not of the archive but of a convivial meal eaten beneath a pergola in the Pisan hills.” —Lucy Hughes-Hallett, The Daily Telegraph

“Gilmour’s elegantly written book . . . is full of impressive insights . . . A stimulating, up-to-date and reliable guide to modern Italian history.” —Tony Barber, Financial Times

“In this superb history of Italy and the Italian people, Gilmour celebrates a nation of bewilderingly mixed bloods and ethnicities . . . The Pursuit of Italy offers an enduring tribute to a various and wonderful people.” —Ian Thomson, Evening Standard

Pressestimmen

Praise For The Pursuit Of Italy

“Amazingly compendious . . . The best one-volume history of Italy now available . . . [The Pursuit of Italy] has the same tonic, exhilarating impact as the thigh-slapping overture to a Verdi opera.” —Jonathan Keates, The Literary Review

“[The Pursuit of Italy has] a freshness and readability often lacking in more laborious histories, an attractiveness reinforced by the quality of the writing, which is versatile and vivid and frequently witty, able to encompass both densely factual material and complicated narrative without loss of clarity or elegance . . . Compelling to read and highly informative . . . Brilliantly accomplished.” —Barry Unsworth, The Spectator

“Lucid and elegant, clever and provocative . . . Tracing Italy’s history from Romulus and Remus to the misdemeanours of Silvio Berlusconi, Gilmour develops his thesis with wit, style, and a great deal of learning.” —Dominic Sandbrook, The Sunday Times (London)

“[A] well-researched and engaging canter through the peninsula’s history.” —Peter Popham, The Independent

“[Gilmour is] a witty guide with an elegant prose style and a mind delightfully furnished with anec­dotes and dictums, sensual impressions and conversations . . . [His] prose smells not of the archive but of a convivial meal eaten beneath a pergola in the Pisan hills.” —Lucy Hughes-Hallett, The Daily Telegraph

“Gilmour’s elegantly written book . . . is full of impressive insights . . . A stimulating, up-to-date and reliable guide to modern Italian history.” —Tony Barber, Financial Times

“In this superb history of Italy and the Italian people, Gilmour celebrates a nation of bewilderingly mixed bloods and ethnicities . . . The Pursuit of Italy offers an enduring tribute to a various and wonderful people.” —Ian Thomson, Evening Standard


Produktinformation

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 36083 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 463 Seiten
  • ISBN-Quelle für Seitenzahl: 1846142512
  • Verlag: Penguin (3. März 2011)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B004Q9T4EY
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Nicht aktiviert
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (2 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #113.538 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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1 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Parallelen zu Entwicklung in Europa 12. Januar 2012
Von troya114
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Die Entwicklung Italiens der letzten 200 Jahre wie hier dargestellt zeigt eine mögliche Entwicklung Europas bei zunehmender Zentralverwaltung Fiskal- und Währungsunion
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0 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Früher oder später 20. August 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Es gab ein bzw. mehrere Italien vor Berlusconi. Vermutlich wird es ein oder Zwei Italien nach Berlusconi geben. So weit, so gut. Allerdings befindet sich die italienische cucina in der Abschlaffung.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 von 5 Sternen  46 Rezensionen
49 von 50 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen The Sum of all Her People 26. Oktober 2011
Von The Ginger Man - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Gilmour's pursuit is ambitious both in scope and intent, covering Italy's land, regions and people from Ancient Rome to the Berlusconi administrations in a tightly written 400 pages. He cautions that since this is not an academic work (although 376 source books are cited in the text), he has allowed himself "to be quirkily subjective in (his) selection of topics."

The author begins with a discussion of Italy's defining geographic features: too long; easily invaded; divided from north to south and from east to west; lacking in timber, fish, fishermen, sailors and navigable rivers; malaria prone and multi-racial. Gimour proceeds to review almost every important era of the peninsula's history from Imperial Rome through the Risorgimento and ending with a review of today's economic, social and political challenges. His approach is to analyze the country's centrifugal tendencies, arguing that more traditional histories "had been written from a centripetal view, as if Italian unity had been pre-ordained." Questioning whether unification had been either necessary or inevitable, Gilmour asks: "Were there not just too many Italies for a successful unity?"

Early portions of the text can be a bit challenging as the author weaves together the varied and complex historical threads of the Holy Roman Empire. The book takes off, however, in an extended and lucid description of the Risorgimento. Gilmour sees the latter resulting from a war of expansion conducted by the Piedmontese. "Annexation (of the Papal States and the Kingdom of The Two Sicilies) plainly meant 'piedmontization', the imposition of northern laws, customs and institutions on distant regions with no experience of their workings." The Kingdom of Italy was formally proclaimed in 1861 but, constitutionally, was a greatly expanded Piedmont with a new name. Venice and Rome fell into Italy's hands in 1866 and 1870 respectively more as the result of machinations between Austria, Prussia and France than through Italian military or political victories. In Gilmour's view, nationalist Italy was more imposition than evolution.

"Nearly a century and a half after unification - and more than sixty years after Mussolini's death - Italian politics had still been unable to settle into any kind of rhythm or consistency," concludes the author. Italy's birth rate, economic growth and EU compliance are at low points while its Corruption Index (according to Transparency International ranking) rises. The sense of national unity, Gilmour argues, has disappeared as Italians increasingly question the legitimacy of the state.

Countries such as Britain and France, observe Gilmour, are more important than the sum of their parts. Communal Italy, however, represented in its cities and regions, is the strength of the country and receives the true allegiance of its citizenry. The author quotes Luigi Barzini who stated that Italy "has never been as good as the sum of all her people." The reader is left to conclude that Gilmour agrees with Giustino Fortunato who declared in 1899 "that the unification of Italy was a sin against history and geography."

The Pursuit of Italy ends in a question about its efficacy as a unified nation, one thought to have been settled in the affirmative long ago. As a result, this book is entertaining and truly thought-provoking, which can't help but be a good combination.
24 von 24 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Italy, as "a sin against geography and history" 16. November 2011
Von R. M. Peterson - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the formal proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy. I have long had a fascination with Italy, which was only whetted by my two too-short trips there. Art, architecture, history, food, wine, warmly hospitable people, and (often) glorious weather and landscapes. But at the same time Italy is such a dysfunctional country - crime, corruption, bloated and inefficient bureaucracy, Berlusconi, and a burgeoning debt crisis. (I realize, of course, that the same problems - minus "Berlusconi" - loom large in the United States.) In THE PURSUIT OF ITALY, David Gilmour does a good job of explaining why in its 150 years Italy, the nation, has had such a star-crossed existence and why it still has an uncertain future.

In Gilmour's view, geography and the vicissitudes of history over millennia have worked against a unified Italian nation. For centuries, the peoples of the peninsula existed -- even thrived, at least in comparison to many others in Europe -- in various city-states (such as Venice, Genoa, Savoy, Florence, Siena, and Naples). Even today, "the city-states remain embedded in Italy's psyche, the crucial component of its people's identity and of their social and cultural inheritance." When the tide of 19th-Century nationalism swept over Italy, there were no inherent ties or associations that predisposed those city-states to unite in a peninsular nation, and the founding fathers - Cavour, Garibaldi, Mazzini, and Victor Emanuel - who brought about that nation-state did so without the support or approval of the majority of the citizenry. Italy as a nation was flawed in conception, and the nation-building since has been badly flawed in execution.

In arguing for his thesis - which I find quite plausible - Gilmour supplies the reader with a one-volume history of Italy (or, perhaps more accurately, history of its many and varied constituent parts). That history is a little tedious at times and the book occasionally takes on the feel of a textbook -- albeit, better written than most textbooks. But on the whole I found THE PURSUIT OF ITALY both engaging and educational. I learned more about Italy than I have from any other single source in my reading career. The book certainly should be considered by anyone looking for a one-volume historical overview of Italy before travelling there.
14 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A distinctive voice and a very efficient presentation 1. Dezember 2011
Von MT57 - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I am not as well read as others in Italian history but this book certainly struck me as a very efficient history of Italy. It begins at the beginning, before Romulus and Remus and goes right up to Berlusconi. It is definitely a history that is filtered through the author's perspective. As the title implies, he sees "Italy" as at best a work in progress which has never achieved the degree of commonality and nationhood that other European states have. And he is skeptical it ever will. His perspective comes through in every chapter.

He has a very strong voice; for example, many times he labels an action or decision "insane" or "lunatic". I found this to enhance my experience as a reader, in contrast with a blander, less judgmental voice.

I thought I would quote one paragraph to illustrate both the efficiency of the presentation and the distinctive voice (p.185)

"The Habsburg government made a more honourable blunder by waiting three days for its ultimatum to expire and thus missing the chance to capture Turin before the French army arrived. The outcome of the campaign was decided by two battles in Lombardy in June, which ended in victories for France but in which its Italian allies played undistinguishable parts. One, Magenta, was so sanguinary that it gave its name to the artists' colour, magenta, but little Piedmontese blood helped inspire the name since the army did not arrive at the battlefield until nightfall, after the struggle was over. At the other, Solferino, the sight of wounded soldiers left to die was so horrifying to one Swiss witness that he went home and founded the International Red Cross."

At times that voice can be a little too monotonously disparaging. This is the case as to pretty much anything that happens after "unification" which might be more aptly called "annexation" since Italy, in his view, never really has been unified, up to and including the era of Berlusconi. At one late point, the author simply amasses one sorry data point after another to show the extent of corruption and the decline of the Italian economy. Finally, in the last chapter, the author declares that the real enduring units of Italian life are the family and the town, and that any larger-scale organization of them annoys the people and should essentially be done away with. So it is not a neutral or bland perspective you will be exposed to, but it is quite well written.
25 von 30 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen In Pursuit of an Editor 29. Dezember 2011
Von M. Keenan - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
The prologue provides an amalgam of Gilmour's dinner conversations and informal observations about Italy. And so it goes. Although I'm not a historian, it's clear neither is Mr. Gilmour. The book hop scotches around topics. At one point it picks up with opera, a moment later literature. Short biographical sketches of major figures are presented many chapters after the characters enter the scene. Obscure Italian prhases are left dangling with no explanation. (Evidently leaving the reader in the dark is a method for impressing the reader with Gilmour's erudition.)

I wanted to give this book 3 stars. The topic is interesting. Even if unsubstantiated, many of Mr. Gilmour's observations seem plausible. However ultimately the book's flaws overcome its strengths.
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Enjoyable and Compelling 30. Juni 2012
Von John Mccarthy - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
This delightfully coherent history of the country that in 1860 became the modern nation of Italy begins with the polyglot migrations into the Italian peninsula many centuries before the Christian era and ends with the chaotic premiership of Silvio Berlusconi. And what a ride it is!

The two things that I most enjoyed and admired about this superb overview of Italian history are, first, its coherence. From beginning to end, David Gilmour, the author, makes the case that Metternich, who in the early 19th century declared that Italy was not a nation, but rather a "geographic expression," was profoundly correct. For it is Gilmour'c conviction that what we now call the nation of Italy was and continues to be a mistake. Italy, in his persuasive view, ought not to be a single nation, but rather it would have fared far better as four five or six independent yet far more integrated and coherent countries such as Piedmont, Tuscany, Venezia, Sicily, the Southern half of the country, etc. Of course, no one will ever know whether Gilmore is right, but he does make an excellent case that Italy, as it is today, is not a coherently integrated and unified country. Far from it.

The second dimension of this fine book that I admire and enjoy is Gilmour's willingness to opine on all of Italy's leading men of the last 200 years. From Garibaldi, to Cavour, to Pius IX, to Verdi, to Victor Emanuel, to Mussolini, to De Gasperi, to Berlusconi - his perspectives and insights into each of these men (as well as many others) are always interesting and usually persuasive. Plus, his perspectives on the country as a whole are similarly engaging. As but one example, let me share with you his perspective on Italian nationalism, which he perceives to have had its emotive origins in a romantic harkoning back to the Roman Empire, but which in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries caused nothing but hardship and devastation to the people of the country. Happily, by reason of these multiple historical disasters, Italy today has abjured itself of all nationalistic pretension.

Bottom-line, it is a pleasure for me, as an ardent admirer of Italy and of Italian culture, to recommend this book to one and all.
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