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Short Synopsis
With The Pursuit of Italy, David Gilmour has provided a coherent, persuasive, and entertain­ing interpretation of the paradoxes of Italian life, past and present.

Full Synopsis
Did Garibaldi do Italy a disservice when he helped its disparate parts achieve unity? Was the goal of political unification a mistake? These questions are asked and answered in a number of ways in this engaging, original consideration of the many histories that contribute to the brilliance—and weakness—of Italy today.

David Gilmour's ex­ploration of Italian life over the centuries is filled with provocative anecdotes as well as personal observations, and is peopled with the great figures of the Italian past—from Cicero and Virgil to Dante and the Medicis, from Garibaldi and Cavour to the controversial politicians of the twentieth century. Gilmour's wise account of the Risorgimento, the pivotal epoch in modern Italian history, debunks the nationalistic myths that surround it, though he paints a sympathetic portrait of Giuseppe Verdi, a beloved hero of the era. Gilmour shows that the glory of Italy has always lain in its regions, with their distinc­tive art, civic cultures, identities, and cuisines. Italy's inhabitants identified themselves not as Italians but as Tuscans and Venetians, Sicilians and Lombards, Neapolitans and Genoese. Italy's strength and culture still come from its regions rather than from its misconceived, mishandled notion of a unified nation.

"Gilmour’s compelling look into Italy’s past as a way of understanding its present offers a fascinating glimpse of the failures and triumphs of the country." ---Publishers Weekly Starred Review

“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

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

“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
Publishers Weekly Review

The Pursuit of Italy

A History of a Land, Its Regions, and Their Peoples

Author David Gilmour

Narrated by Napoleon Ryan

Publication date Sep 12, 2017

Running time 19 hrs 28 min

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