The Short Oxford History of Italy series, in seven volumes, will offer a complete History of Italy from the early middle ages to the present and, in each period, will present the most recent historical perspectives on Italian history. This means setting Italian history in the broader context of European history as a whole. It also means questioning accepted interpretations of Italian history in each of these periods and, in particular, the idea that Italy's history has been significantly different from that of the rest of Europe. Each volume will emphasise how developments in Italy in each period are best understood as variants on broader European patterns of political, economic social and cultural change. Italy since 1945 sets in context the tremendous changes that Italy has undergone in the last 55 years.
In place of the land of pizza, sunshine, and soccer, McCarthy describes a developing nation: an economy that has found its own road to success via the piccole imprese with an increasingly strong stockmarket and more sophisticated banking; a dynamic, traditional, family centred society; and a political system struggling to modernize after forty years of Christian Democrat rule and Communist opposition. McCarthy also looks at the role of the Church, including Pius XII's wartime activities and the 'foreign pope', John-Paul II before finally turning to sport in Italy - the only country to have 3 daily newspapers devoted to the subject. Athoritative, accessible, and absorbing, the book examines modern Italy through the eyes of 10 leading commentators and explores the Italian experience in the wider context of both the nation's past and its wider contemporary European position.
Patrick McCarthy is Professor of European Studies at Johns Hopkins University, Bologna