By an Assistant Professor of History at Barnard, and the author of Italy at the Paris Peace Conference, this is a deeply sourced but at no time didactic historical study of modern Italy. And the history of the country is traced through the political, economic and social influences, at home and abroad. For Fascism-Nazism were symptoms of a malady that cut across national boundaries and ""the social maladjustments of which the Axis phenomenon was a manifestation were not cured by the war"". This shows the development of Italy since the 19th century, leading to the climax of Fascism, how and why it happened, not inevitably but logically, naturally. Italy's new status as a national state in 1815 and her unification as Mazzini contributed the messianic idea, Cavour the practical reality; the half century which followed which brought some progress but in which a general backwardness still prevailed; World War I and the mutilated peace; the breakdown of the parliamentary system, the political vacuum which led to Mussolini -""opportunism and opportunity""; World War II, and again today disorganization and confusion as Italy is one of the ""major testing grounds of the competing ideologies of our time"". For the student or serious reader in contemporary history, this is of interest and importance.