A thorough, enjoyable collection which ably demonstrates Italy’s long reach.

Italy Invades: How Italians Conquered the World

This comprehensive book details the impact of the ancient, southern European country of Italy.

This is the third volume in a series that started with 2014’s All the Countries We’ve Ever Invaded, about Laycock’s homeland of Great Britain, and was followed by Kelly and Laycock’s America Invades (2015). Now the duo tackles a country to which both feel connected, one whose history goes back millennia to ancient Rome. As Kelly explains in his introduction: “Italians are literally and figuratively an ‘outgoing’ people….From Marco Polo to Christopher Columbus, they have been some of the world’s greatest travelers, explorers, and adventurers.” As a result, there are few countries which Italy has not, at least theoretically, touched. For example, it even has a tenuous connection to the distant Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean, where its military has taken part in joint exercises in recent years. Italy has an even greater impact on countries nearer to it, such as its neighbor, Austria; they “share a border, and they also share a lot of violent history with many invasions back and forth,” the authors note. In this volume, Kelly and Laycock have done meticulous research, and it all shows on the page. With names such as Columbus, Polo, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and Napoleon Bonaparte appearing over and over again, the authors help readers to grasp the big global picture at any given point in time. They also single out Italian-Americans, especially in the military, and their roles in history. An added bonus is an appendix featuring a colorful journal entry by Kelly’s great-grandfather Thomas Tileston Wells, written during an ill-timed vacation to Europe at the outbreak of World War I. Overall, Kelly and Laycock have created a dense, readable compilation about a nation whose impact on global history is often underappreciated.

A thorough, enjoyable collection which ably demonstrates Italy’s long reach.

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-94-059872-7

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Book Publishers Network

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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