In The Rebirth of Italy Mark Thompson tracks the emergence of modern Italy from the disasters of fascism and the vicious civil war that followed the fall of Mussolini: the creation of a flawed, more or less democratic republic by the Allies, one which left many aspects of fascist policy in place. Many thousands of armed Communist partisans wanted revenge and revolution; equal numbers of unreconstructed fascists held onto their posts. An obscure former Vatican official became Italy's first Christian Democratic prime minister.
This is a story of great power, intrigue, cold war hysteria, high drama and violence, but also of extraordinary creativity unleashed in literature, cinema, painting and design. Italian movies (De Sica, Rosselini, Visconti) were the most exciting in the world, while writers like Montale, Calvino, Moravia, Morante and Ginzburg were translated into all the major languages.
Thompson has a unique ability to fuse political, military and cultural history and brilliantly conveys the story of a period of Italian history less commonly told.
'A wonderfully rich and poignant study, beautifully written and based on a detailed first-hand knowledge ... An excellent book' TLS.
'An excellent narrative history' Sunday Times.
'Magnificent ... Original, masterly and definitive' Guardian.
'A book which is central to any understanding of Italy's 20th century' Tobias Jones