A Concise History of Italy by Christopher Duggan

A Concise History of Italy by Christopher Duggan – Cambridge Concise Histories is a good book which I enjoyed. It’s focused on the modern history a bit too much for my taste, hence the 4 stars instead of 5. For example, the period between 400 and 1500 is covered in 30 pages while the 20th century is covered in 120+ pages, over a third of the book. Yes, the two world wars and the rise of fascism are very important, but there were many important things happening in the medieval period which were not given enough space.

A Concise History of Italy by Christopher Duggan

Italy as a state was formed in 1860s. Before that there were small duchies and kingdoms and it was interesting to read about them and their struggle for some sort of independence, as they were under threat from Spain, France, and the Austro-Hungarian empire.

I think this book offers a good overview over Italy’s past and it is a good starter if you want to read more about it. I knew about Italy’s history from other books of history, on other topics such as the Napoleonic wars or European industrial development. So, it was interesting to read, especially in the run up to my holiday in northern Italy. At 300 pages it is short enough to keep anyone interested, even without a particular inclination towards history, so I recommend it.

A Concise History of Italy by Christopher Duggan

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My rating: 4/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: Cambridge University Press
Year it was published: 2013 (first published in 1994)
Format: Paperback
Genre(s): History – European
Pages: 336

About the author: Christopher John Hesketh Duggan was a British historian specialising in the political, social and cultural history of modern Italy. He began his career as a research fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford and then at All Souls College, Oxford. In 1987, he moved to the University of Reading where he remained until his death. He had been Professor of Modern Italian History since 2002.
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2 thoughts on “A Concise History of Italy by Christopher Duggan”

  • I realize it’s a concise history, but I’m a little surprised at that breakdown regarding the time periods. Does the book begin at 400, after the fall of the Roman Empire?
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