Italy emerged from the Second World War in ruins. Divided, invaded and economically broken, it was a nation that some claimed had ceased to exist. By the 1960s, Italy could boast the fastest-growing economy in the world, as rural society disappeared almost overnight. In The Archipelago, acclaimed historian John Foot chronicles Italy’s tumultuous history from post-war to the present. From the assimilation of fascists into society after 1945 to the troubling reign of Silvio Berlusconi, and from the artistic peak of neo-realist cinema to the celebration of Italy’s 150th birthday in 2011, he examines both the corrupt and celebrated sides of the country. Updated with new material, this history tells the fascinating story of a country marked by scandal but with the constant ability to reinvent itself.
John Foot is Professor of Modern Italian History at the University of Bristol. He is the author of numerous books on Italian history and culture, including Calcio: A History of Italian Football (2006); Italy’s Divided Memory (2009); The Man Who Closed the Asylums; Franco Basaglia and the Revolution in Mental Health Care (2015); and The Archipelago: Italy since 1945 (2018). He is currently working on a history of Italian fascism to be published by Bloomsbury and Laterza and funded as a Major Research Fellowship by the Leverhulme Trust.