Tag Archive: Italy

Sep 27 2017

Pirate Utopia by Bruce Sterling

The collapse of the European empires at the end of World War I produced considerable political strangeness. Béla Kun. The Czech Legion in Siberia. The Bavarian Soviet Republic. Baron Ungern. Flights of fancy, seizures of power, and some powerfully fancy seizures. In Pirate Utopia, Bruce Sterling sails off to another corner of collapsing empires rubbing …

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Jun 16 2017

Postwar by Tony Judt

Two things stand out for me about Postwar, by Tony Judt. First, it is a stupendous historical synthesis that aims to tell a mostly political history of all of Europe — East and West, North and South — from 1945 through its publication in 2005. Second, I should have been writing reflections about it as I …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/06/16/postwar-by-tony-judt/

Mar 23 2016

Mussolini’s Italy by R.J.B. Bosworth

I had set aside Mussolini’s Italy for the better part of a year after writing about the first third of it, and then I picked it up again just a few weeks ago. Zeitgeist, I suppose.

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2016/03/23/mussolinis-italy-by-r-j-b-bosworth/

Feb 03 2015

Premature Evaluation: Mussolini’s Italy by R.J.B. Bosworth

I suppose it would be smart to wait until I got to the part where Italy can properly be said to be Mussolini’s before writing about a book called Mussolini’s Italy, but my progress through this volume has been so slow — “deliberate” would be a kinder word, if less accurate — that I might …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2015/02/03/premature-evaluation-mussolinis-italy-by-r-j-b-bosworth/

Sep 11 2014

Rome and Italy by Livy

Mostly this is a record of Rome’s interminable wars with the Samnites. War is hardly a trivial event, but Rome fought so many wars during this period that reading about one battle after another becomes wearying. The most interesting and unusual thing that happened during this period was that a Vestal Virgin violated her vow …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/09/11/rome-and-italy-by-livy/

Jun 11 2014

Modern Italy by John Foot

The author takes a thematic rather than a chronological approach to Italian history; I was skeptical at first, but he makes it work. The chief problem he attacks is why Italy never developed as a nation-state the way other European nations did. Italians have supposedly always lacked any sense of nationalism, but the author points …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/06/11/modern-italy-by-john-foot/

Jan 14 2014

The Day of Battle by Rick Atkinson

The Italian campaign has been neglected by most World War II historians; Rick Atkinson brings it vividly to life. It is a story of almost perpetual tactical and strategic blunders, in which the steady application of brute force rather than brilliant leadership or maneuvering decided the contest. The rivalry among generals was horrific, and there …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/01/14/the-day-of-battle-by-rick-atkinson/

Apr 14 2013

The House of Medici by Christopher Hibbert

Could the Italian Renaissance have flourished without the Medici to finance it? This book supports Will Durant’s argument that art may be the flower of civilization, but money is the root. Yet apart from a few shining stars in the Medici family, the story is mostly one of decline that illustrates how utterly useless Europe’s …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2013/04/14/the-house-of-medici-by-christopher-hibbert/

Oct 12 2010

The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

There has been a movement in recent times among historians and political scientists to rehabilitate Machiavelli’s reputation. After reading this book, I cannot agree with these scholars. Machiavelli’s recipe for statesmanship is inhuman and diabolical. He clearly sees power as an end in itself and not as something to be used to serve the public …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2010/10/12/the-prince/