The Pursuit of Italy

The Pursuit of Italy

A History of A Land, Its Regions, and Their Peoples

Book - 2011
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Baker & Taylor
An account of Italy's diverse culture of the past and present evaluates the appropriateness of political unification, sharing anecdotes on major historical figures and events while debunking nationalistic myths.

McMillan Palgrave

One of The Economist's 2011 Books of the Year

Did Garibaldi do Italy a disservice when he helped its disparate parts achieve unity? Was the goal of political unification a mistake? These questions are asked and answered in a number of ways in this engaging, original consideration of the many histories that contribute to the brilliance-and weakness-of Italy today.

David Gilmour's wonderfully readable ex­ploration of Italian life over the centuries is filled with provocative anecdotes as well as personal observations, and is peopled with the great fig­ures of the Italian past-from Cicero and Virgil to Dante and the Medicis, from Garibaldi and Cavour to the controversial politicians of the twentieth century. Gilmour's wise account of the Risorgimento, the pivotal epoch in modern Italian history, debunks the nationalistic myths that surround it, though he paints a sympathetic portrait of Giuseppe Verdi, a beloved hero of the era. Gilmour shows that the glory of Italy has always lain in its regions, with their distinc­tive art, civic cultures, identities, and cuisines. Italy's inhabitants identified themselves not as Italians but as Tuscans and Venetians, Sicilians and Lombards, Neapolitans and Genoese. Italy's strength and culture still come from its regions rather than from its misconceived, mishandled notion of a unified nation.

With The Pursuit of Italy, David Gilmour has provided a coherent, persuasive, and entertain­ing interpretation of the paradoxes of Italian life, past and present.

& Taylor

A lively and provocative account of Italy's diverse culture of the past and present evaluates the question about the appropriateness of political unification, sharing controversial anecdotes on major historical figures and events while debunking nationalistic myths and casting Giuseppe Verdi in a sympathetic light. By the author of The Ruling Caste.

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 9780374283162
Branch Call Number: 945 GIL
Characteristics: p. cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jan 08, 2019

A concise and enlightening book about the history of Italy spiced with cultural events and anecdotes.

Sep 21, 2017

interesting snippet in .
In 1861, when the Italian peninsula was finally united into a single political entity, only 2.5 percent of "Italians" spoke the Italian language. In fact, the citizens of every major Italian city -- Rome, Venice, Florence, Milan and others -- each spoke a different language. The situation was similar in the other countries of Europe:

Apr 08, 2015

Very concise and well written history of Italy from early times to current times. Full of insights that go far beyond the various common mythologies about Italy - very well researched and highly recommended. Gives an excellent account of the political and cultural complexities of Italy.

Jun 20, 2012

Excellent and scholarly history of Italy a must in this day of the problem in Europe

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at BPL

To Top