by Marco Soresina
New York: Routledge, 2018. Pp. x, 220.
Map, notes, biblio., index. $155.00. ISBN: 1138565237
Italy, From Napoleon to Victor Emmanuel
Prof. Soresina (Milan) has produced a concise overview of the history of Italy from the end of the Napoleonic Wars through unification under the House of Savoy.
Soresina uses a chronological treatment, with chapters covering the reorganization of Italy after the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the period from 1815 to the Revolutions of 1848, Italy within revolutionary Europe in 1848-1849, the period from 1849 through 1859, and then two chapters on the final acts that led to unification.
In each chapter Soresina deals with all the states in Italy, albeit with more attention to the larger entities – Lombardy-Venetia, the Two Sicilies, the Papal States, and Sardinia/Piedmont. He weaves together political, military, constitutional, and even social developments across the peninsula rather well. His chapter on the Revolutions of 1848-1849 offers an excellent summary of a series of very complex events, as revolutionary movements rose and fell in the various Italian states.
Soresina’s treatment of nationalist underground movements and leaders arguably could have been better. He says little about conflicts among the various visions of the future, and there is not even a mention of Carlo Bianco’s “less gentle” vision for unification.
Despite this, overall Italy Before Italy, a volume in the Routledge series “Studies in Modern European History”, offers us a good summary look at Italy in the making.
Note: Italy Before Italy is also available in several e-editions.
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