First of all, the book is NOT a concise history of Italy, but a massive 338 pages excellent summary of the Italian history, from the moment that the country was officially born in 1861, with some glance of the previous 1500 years. So – yes – it’s “A Concise History of Italy” because everything is included in the same work, but (luckily) it’s not a superficial analysis.
If you love history – as I do – you will find a lucid insight about the struggle of many generations to build something from the ruins of the Roman Empire. A goal never achieved, and that can’t be achieved, still a useful leverage to build the modern nation, imperfect, fragmented but finally unified.
If you are student, a professor or a simple affectionate, you will love this book. On its pages there is no Italian law, no Italian business, and no receipt to buy the perfect house in Italy. Still, there is a base to understand all of them. After you have read Duggan’s work, you will better understand the reason behind the sclerotic Italian bureaucracy, the deep differences between South and North Italy, the Italian attitude to lengthen negotiation forever, and maybe you will find a better understanding on how to avoid – or at least reduce – all those issues.
This is not a book for short term tourists, but it could help any person who want to spend a long time in Italy, like a sabbatical, a year studying in an Italian University, or just a couple of seasons to learn Italian. It’s a useful read also for future diplomats involved in the Italian matters, and – if you have the passion or patience to read more than 300 pages of history – for businessmen and managers planning to deal with Italy or work for some time in Italy.
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