Written by one of the world's leading historians of Italy, this provocative and highly readable book is the first major study of the Italian monarchy and its impact on Italy's history, from Unification in 1861 to the foundation of the Italian republic after the Second World War. 'Mack Smith is the leading writer in English on nineteenth and twentieth century Italian history ...He has now written a study of the Italian Monarchy that subjects the four kings of united Italy to a debunking treatment. He shows how indispensable the monarchy was for the working of the Italian political system, but also how it was ultimately disastrous.' James Joll, 'New York Review of Books' 'A book to be read and enjoyed. It is urbane and stylish.' Richard Bosworth, 'International History Review' 'Brilliant, remarkable, highly entertaining, only Mack Smith could have told what is finally so shabby a story with this combination of learning and bravura.' Nicholas Richardson, 'Sunday Times' 'A brilliant narrative history of the political role of the kings of Italy.' Philip Mansel, 'Daily Telegraph' Nominated for a 1990 'Los Angeles Times' Book Prize in the History category.
Denis Mack Smith is a Fellow of the British Academy and a Commendatore of the Italian Order of Merit. An Emeritus Fellow of All Souls, Oxford, he is also an Extraordinary Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford, and an Honorary Fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge.
Part 1 Vittorio Emanuel II the King and the constitution; an abortive march on Rome, 1862; from Turin to Florence; the war for Venice; court politics 1866-7; a failed revolution 1867; personal rule; the conquest of Rome; the left in power; death and retrospect. Part 2 Umberto I: the new reign; the triple alliance; Depretis and the transformation of parties; Crispi 1887-91; two interim governments; Crispi and the politics of force; defeat in Africa; Umberto reasserts his authority; two turbulent years; the collapse of parliamentary government; retrospect. Part 3 Vittorio Emanuele III: a new direction in politics; foreign policy 1900-1904; the beginning of "Giolittismo"; great-power politics; victory in Libya; Giolitti in difficulties; Salandra, 1914; to fight or not to fight? Part 4 World war I and the rise of fascism: Italy at war 1915-17; defeat and triumph, 1917-18; post-war difficulties; fascism and the march on Rome; the fascist dictatorship; the "Diarchy"; alliance with Germany. Part 5 The end of monarchy: Italy drifts into war; the regime disintegrates; Mussolini is dismissed; the armistice; the flight from Rome; the monarchy under attack; Umberto II.
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