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£14.99
Published
2 April 2024
Hardback
978-1-913083-56-4
Ebook
978-1-913083-57-1
Press Release
Coming soon.
By Ross King:

 

‘King’s supreme ability is to imagine himself into the past. The scope of his knowledge is staggering’ JOHN CAREY, SUNDAY TIMES

From Michelangelo to Mussolini, Nero to Meloni, Galileo to Garibaldi, here is the sparkling story of the world’s most influential peninsula.

The calendar, the university, the piano; the Vespa, the pistol and the pizzeria… It’s easy to assume that inventions like these could only come from somewhere sure of its place in the world. Yet these pages reveal a land rife with uncertainty even as its influence spread.

From the rise of the Roman Republic to the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, from the glories of Renaissance Florence to the long struggle for unification, from Europe’s first operas to the world’s first ghettos, Ross King nimbly charts the checkered course of Italian history. In the last hundred years, film, fashion and Fiat – once bigger than Volkswagen – emerge from the horrors of fascism and world war.

The Shortest History of Italy is a majestic sweep across three millennia of history that not only shaped Europe but the wider world.

Old Street Publishing The Shortest History of Italy

‘King’s supreme ability is to imagine himself into the past. The scope of his knowledge is staggering’ JOHN CAREY, SUNDAY TIMES

From Michelangelo to Mussolini, Nero to Meloni, Galileo to Garibaldi, here is the sparkling story of the world’s most influential peninsula.

The calendar, the university, the piano; the Vespa, the pistol and the pizzeria… It’s easy to assume that inventions like these could only come from somewhere sure of its place in the world. Yet these pages reveal a land rife with uncertainty even as its influence spread.

From the rise of the Roman Republic to the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, from the glories of Renaissance Florence to the long struggle for unification, from Europe’s first operas to the world’s first ghettos, Ross King nimbly charts the checkered course of Italian history. In the last hundred years, film, fashion and Fiat – once bigger than Volkswagen – emerge from the horrors of fascism and world war.

The Shortest History of Italy is a majestic sweep across three millennia of history that not only shaped Europe but the wider world.

14.99
 
 

'King is that ideal friend, stimulating rather than intimidating, who has seen everything, and doesn’t mind doing it again with you…This would be a splendid companion to a holiday in the bel paese…With his customary light but learned touch, King has performed a miracle of compression'
James Owen, The Oldie

 
 
  • ‘Jump into the Alfa Romeo and hold tight as Ross King speeds through Italian history with this effervescent and entertaining guide to the peninsula’s past’
    Catherine Fletcher, author of The Beauty and the Terror: An Alternative History of the Italian Renaissance
  • 'Few have as much insight into the history of Italy as the author of Brunelleschi's Dome, and here Ross King offers a masterful and perceptive account of Italian virtues – and sins – from the Romans to Berlusconi… An ideal handbook for anyone who loves Italy and wants to dig a little deeper into the past'
    Richard Owen, author of D.H. Lawrence in Italy
  • 'A rollicking introduction to the history of a country that, until barely 150 years ago, was not one. Vibrant, admirably clear and often wryly amusing … a splendid achievement’ —John Hooper, author of The Italians
  • 'A remarkably readable whirlwind tour of Italian history over the millennia, replete with conquerors, emperors, slaves, popes, assorted invaders, and filled with juicy historical nuggets. There’s nothing quite like it'
    David Kertzer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Pope and Mussolini and The Pope at War
  • 'History exerts a force in Italy that is multifaceted and ambiguous, especially to the outsider – but The Shortest History of Italy helps to render the country coherent'
    Kurt Johnson in The Saturday Paper
  • 'Terrific… a lucid, riveting history of a country that is both exquisitely old and painfully young at the same time’
    Sarah Dunant
  • An adventure yarn set on the wild frontiers of human knowledge … abounding with excellent stories’
    Financial Times on Brunelleschi’s Dome
  • ‘A marvel of storytelling … dazzling, instructive and highly entertaining’
    Wall Street Journal on The Bookseller of Florence
  • ‘Brilliant … seamlessly weaves together intellectual debate, technological exploration and the excitement of new ways of thinking … as they evolved in one of the liveliest cultural environments in European history’
    Rowan Williams on The Bookseller of Florence
 
 
Ross King

Ross King is a world-renowned expert on the Italian Renaissance. He is the author of numerous bestselling and acclaimed books, including The Bookseller of Florence, Brunelleschi’s Dome, Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling and Leonardo and the Last Supper. He lives just outside Oxford.