Penguin Book


The Force of Destiny

Christopher Duggan

The greatness of Italy's culture and way of life have had a powerful attraction for many generations of visitors. This has created an overwhelming sense that Italy is a fundamentally benign and easy going country. The Force of Destiny, Christopher Duggan's immensely enjoyable new book, lays waste to this idea. While sharing everyone's enthusiasm for Italy as a place, he strongly distinguishes this from its political role over the past two centuries, which has been both vicious and ruinous for Europe as a whole.

Verdi's great opera The Force of Destiny, one of the key works celebrating Italy's wish for independence, also points to Italy's fundamental problem. Throughout the 19th century Italy struggled to unite under one rule all Italian speakers, throwing aside a multitude of corrupt old rulers and colonial occupiers. Through all these struggles, the politicians of Italy felt impelled by a 'force of destiny' hideously at odds with Italian reality. After immense struggle and with endless sacrifices, a united Italy was at last created which proved to be as impoverished, backward and marginal as it had been before. The resentments this created fed into Italy's overwhelmingly destructive role, as colonial predator, as a faithless and ruinous element in the First World War: these resentments in turn led to the rise of Mussolini who, far more than Hitler, wrecked the European order in the '20s and '30s. It was only the humiliation and disaster of the Second World War that, at last, made Italy into a reasonably 'normal' and constructive country.

Christopher Duggan is Professor of Italian History at the University of Reading and author of a highly acclaimed biography of Francesco Crispi.

Division
Penguin
Publication date
30/08/2007
Category
  • History
  • Politics and Current Affairs
Format TPS
234 x 153mm
Illustrations
16 BW inset
Extent
688
US
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Translation
Felicity Bryan Associates Ltd
Film
Felicity Bryan Associates Ltd
Serial
Penguin
Audio (Unabridged)
Felicity Bryan Associates Ltd
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