THE UNIFICATION OF ITALY by Christopher Leeds

THE UNIFICATION OF ITALY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Any nationalist movement led by intellectuals and visionaries and fought by an apparently altruistic soldier of fortune couldn't help producing its share of inspiring rhetoric, and Leed's documentary pastiche of the Risorgimento makes effective use of speeches, slogans and affecting anecdotes. It also makes the complicated process of unification -- and its outgrowth from an inchoate, seemingly unworkable dream -- relatively comprehensible. As Leeds demonstrates, the Risorgimento was primarily a middle class movement, and he balances his accounts of strategic victories with a look at the condition of the largely unpoliticized Italian peasantry, which in the poor south often resorted to ""brigandage"" (openly encouraged by the monarchists) as its only means of protest and survival. Quite detailed and composed around primary sources, the narrative can be slow going at times, but the romantic personalities of Mazzini, Garibaldi and company help sustain interest and Leeds offers more analytical overview than some other contributors to this series.

Pub Date: July 22nd, 1974
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Putnam