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By Paul Ginsburg

During this long-awaited booklet (already an enormous bestseller in Italy), Ginsborg has created a desirable, refined and definitive account of the way Italy has coped, or did not cope, with the prior 20 years. modern Italy strongly mirrors Britain - the nations have approximately a similar volume, inhabitants dimension and GNP - and but they're beautifully diverse. Ginsborg sees this distinction as so much essentially transparent within the function of the family members and it's the kinfolk that's on the middle of Italian politics and company. somebody wishing to appreciate modern Italy will locate it necessary to have this tremendously appealing and clever booklet.

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Extra resources for A History of Contemporary Italy: Society and Politics: 1943-1988 (Penguin History)

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59 Of course, not all the peasant families took the same decisions. Some lay low and wanted nothing to do with either side. Others, a very small minority by all accounts, informed on those who were helping the escaped prisoners and later the partisans (there were considerable monetary rewards). liO In the autumn of 1943, most partisan bands soon found a vivendi with the modus sharecroppers. They encouraged them not to consign their produce to the ammassi; some of the bands also came to ingenious agree­ ments with them over the question of supplies.

In February 1944, at Carmignano, north-west of Florence, sharecroppers gathered in the piazza of the village, declared a general strike and refused to move until the authorities distributed milling permits to everyone. 61 c. THE RURAL S OUTH I I i In 1936 59 per cent of the active population of the Mezzogiorno (the southern half of Italy) still worlced the land for a living. Manlio Rossi-Doria, one of the foremost of southern agronomists, has divided the agrarian South of the time into two basic types: the first, the fertile 'tree-covered' South, was characterized by an intensive agriculture dedicated to vines, olives and fruit trees.

In Sicily it was never a single organization, but rather a series of competing groups or 'families' living in unstable equilibrium with each other. 84 In rural western Sicily the monopoly to be safeguarded was that of land. Here in the nineteenth century the gabellotti (tenant farmers) had increasingly taken over the land from the absentee landowners, and the first mafiosi were those who offered an armed protection against any threat to gabellotto power. However, the Mafia was not merely a secret association protecting the class interests of the rural elites.

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