L’Italia contemporanea (1918-1948, Contemporary Italy)

F. Chabod, Einaudi.

Released in France years earlier as a typewritten collection of lectures given by Chabod at the Sorbonne, “L’Italia contemporanea” (Contemporary Italy) was an immediate success even outside the university classrooms. Chabod had died prematurely a few months ago, but he still remained the most famous Italian historian, a character of undoubted charisma and with an impeccable anti-fascist pedigree (partisan, first prefect of Aosta liberated). His synthesis had the gift of proposing a reading of Mussolini’s movement and the dictatorship within a long national history. His rise was basically due to the primordial fault of the revolution myth, agitated by socialists in love with their own propaganda, and to the weakness, if not the ineptitude, of the old liberal politicians, above all the most eminent of them, Giovanni Giolitti, convinced that he could manage the fascists and unable to see in their subversive and violent charge the death sentence of the liberal state he had served.