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Blood and Power
The Rise and Fall of Italian Fascismav John Foot255
'Clear, cool, plainly written and devastating' Lucy Hughes-Hallett, Times Literary Supplement A major history of the rise and fall of Italian fascism: a dark tale of violence, ideals and a country at war. In the aftermath of the First World War, the seeds of fascism were sown in Italy. While the country reeled in shock, a new movement emerged from the chaos: one that preached hatred for politicians and love for the fatherland; one that promised to build a 'New Roman Empire', and make Italy a great power once again. Wearing black shirts and wielding guns, knives and truncheons, the proponents of fascism embraced a climate of violence and rampant masculinity. Led by Benito Mussolini, they would systematically destroy the organisations of the left, murdering and torturing anyone who got in their way. In Blood and Power, historian John Foot draws on decades of research to chart the turbulent years between 1915 and 1945, and beyond. Drawing widely from accounts of people across the political spectrum - fascists, anti-fascists, communists, anarchists, victims, perpetrators and bystanders - he tells the story of fascism and its legacy, which still, disturbingly, reverberates to this day.
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A book swarming with people, each one of whose stories adds another touch to the big picture ... This is history as viewed, not by those who shaped it, but by those who endured it ... Clear, cool, plainly written and devastating. -- Lucy Hughes-Hallett * Times Literary Supplement * Excellent ... Highly readable ... A fascinating glimpse into the actual experience of living under fascist terror... The first book I have read which brings the reader to the heart of the period. -- William Wall * Dublin Review of Books * John Foot has written some fine books on Italy ... Blood and Power: the Rise and Fall of Italian Fascism is his finest to date ... He has given us a superb historical work, accessible and weighty, of how fascism once gripped a country, and has never fully let go. Blood and Power is essential reading of a political past that presages warning signs for all our political futures. -- N. J. McGarrigle * Irish Independent * Foot has provided us with new villains and heroes ... [and] tells the interested reader stories that they will have probably never heard before -- David Aaronovitch * The Times, Book of the Week * This book is not a history of Italy, nor a Mussolini biography, but a study of his political movement - a fragmented word gallery of personalities and events -- Max Hastings * The Sunday Times * Meticulous ... Fascinating ... Where Foot's book is invaluable is in the light it sheds on dozens of unremembered heroes - who often, like [Giuseppe] Di Vagno, gave their lives attempting to save Italy from dictatorship - and in providing rounded pictures of men and women whose adventures we know about only partially. -- Caroline Moorhead * Literary Review * Foot's fascinating book offers a new and disturbing reading of the Fascist era and its origins ... He presents a compelling kaleidoscope of individual stories that break through fascism's historic silences -- Vanda Wilcox * History Today * Magnificent ... A tremendous work: vivid, visceral, and highly relevant to our own time ... Foot is a terrific writer and brings to life some of the key characters and events of the period ... Instead of dense political theory or detailed chronology, Foot gives us a history "through episodes, fragments, massacres and trials, moments of violence and escape, defeats and victories, silences and noise, rhetoric and reality". His approach succeeds brilliantly -- David Winner * Camden New Journal * A deeply detailed historical excavation but written in part as warning ... John Foot is an academic who writes like a journalist (this is a compliment) -- Simon Kuper Lively, readable and provocative .... John Foot uses anecdotes and episodes, vignettes and thumbnail portraits to tell the story of Fascism ... Foot's plausible thesis is that it was violence that brought Fascism to power and underpinned the regime ... Overall, Foot's quirky book is a joy -- David Laven * BBC History Magazine * A highly readable, horrifying and extremely timely overview -- Steven Wishnia * The Indypendent * This is scholarly history at its best - vivid and clear. John Foot's narrative glitters from beginning to end. It offers both a highly readable account of Mussolini's ventennio and a rare depiction of how ordinary - and a few extraordinary - Italians experienced his thuggish dictatorship. Warmly recommended for anyone seeking to know what can happen when power falls into the hands of vainglorious nationalists. * John Hooper * Fascinating and illuminating throughout. John Foot has done the hard work of documenting in great detail the many lives and events that connected the Italy of the common people with the figure of Mussolini. Blood and Power offers disturbing intuitions as to the role of violence in the politics of the modern era. * Tim Parks * A gripping new history of fascism that privileges the voices of ordinary Italians and reminds us of the central role of violence in establishing and enforcing Mussolini's dictatorship. An excellent and
John Foot is the author of seven books, including The Archipelago: Italy since 1945; Calcio: A History of Italian Football; Pedalare, Pedalare. A History of Italian Cycling; Italy's Divided Memory and The Man who Closed the Asylums. Five of his books have been translated into Italian. He has written for the Guardian, Independent on Sunday, London Review of Books and the TLS. He has appeared in a number of TV documentaries and on national and local radio. He is Professor of Modern Italian History at the University of Bristol and Director of an 8-university Doctoral Consortium funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Committee. He lives in Bristol with his partner and daughter. In the 1990s and 2000s, he lived in the city of Milan. He is a regular contributor to the Italian magazine Internazionale.