Synopses & Reviews
A vivid and surprising portrait of the Italian people from an admired foreign correspondent
How can a nation that spawned the Renaissance have produced the Mafia? How could people concerned with bella figura (keeping up appearances) have elected Silvio Berlusconi as their leaderand#151;not once, but three times? Sublime and maddening, fascinating yet baffling, Italy is a country of seemingly unsolvable riddles.
John Hooperand#8217;s entertaining and perceptive new book is the ideal companion for anyone seeking to understand contemporary Italy and the unique character of the Italians. Digging deep into their history, culture, and religion, Hooper offers keys to understanding everything from their bewildering politics to their love of life and beauty. Looking at the facts that lie behind the stereotypes, he sheds new light on many aspects of Italian life: football and Freemasonry, sex, symbolism, and the reason why Italian has twelve words for a coat hanger, yet none for a hangover.
Even readers who think they know Italy well will be surprised, challenged, and delighted by The Italians.
Unputdownable . . . A must for anyone . . . who wants to know what Spain is really like. (New Statesman, London)
Unputdownable . . . A must for anyone . . . who wants to know what Spain is really like. (New Statesman
Hooper . . . not only knows where Spain has been in recent decades and centuries, but he also has an impressively authoritative view of where exactly it is today and where it is headed. (The Washington Post)
and#8220;A compact but comprehensive study of the people of Italy. The author puts his finger on the vast diversity of the country through his descriptions of their linguistics, cultures, foods, economies and even journalism. What's not to love? A thoroughly researched, well-written, ageless narrative of a fascinating people.and#8221;and#8212;Kirkus, starred review
and#8220;A sophisticated portrait of the Italians at their best and their worst: charming, imaginative, generous, full of life but also unreliable, more or less corrupt and often downright infuriating. I found myself laughing out loud at some of the humorous twists Mr. Hooper has put to his very perceptive analyses. A worthy and long-overdue successor to Luigi Barziniand#8217;s classic The Italians."and#8212;Andrea Di Robilant, author of A Venetian Affair
and#8220;John Hooper takes his readers deep into the Italian labyrinth. And they come out alive, with a smile on their faces! A remarkable achievement.and#8221;and#8212;Beppe Severgnini, author of Ciao America and La Bella Figura
and#8220;In vivid and fluid prose, John Hooper has written an indispensible guide to life in Italy past and present. His incisive portrait, at turns hard-hitting and affectionate, reveals the Italians in all their complexity, from their dolce vita and transcendent art to their gut-wrenching social and political struggles.and#8221;and#8212;Joseph Luzzi, author of My Two Italies
and#8220;Thanks to his great curiosity, his splendid comparative and analytical perspective, and a fine eye for telling details, John Hooper gets under the skin of a fascinating people in a remarkable and compelling way.and#8221;and#8212;Bill Emmott, co-author of the documentary about Italy and#8220;Girlfriend in a Comaand#8221;
and#8220;Here is the history, passion, culture, and contradictions that make Italy and Italians so fascinating. John Hooper's The Italians is as enjoyable to read as taking a trip to my favorite country!and#8221; and#8212;Ann Hood, author of An Italian Wife
A masterly portrait of contemporary Spain?fully revised, expanded, and updated
Modern-day Spain is a country changing at bewildering speed. In less than half a century, a predominantly rural society has been transformed into a mainly urban one. A dictatorship has become a democracy. A once-repressed society is being spoken of as a future ?Sweden of the Mediterranean.? John Hooper?s outstanding portrayal of the new Spanish society explores the causes behind these changes, from crime to education, gambling to changing sexual mores. This new, up-to-date edition is the essential guide to understanding twenty-first-century Spain: a land of paradox, progress, and social change.
About the Author
The Italy correspondent of The Economist and southern Europe editor of The Guardian, JOHN HOOPER has also written or broadcast for the BBC, NBC, and Reuters. His book The Spaniards won the Allen Lane Award and was revised and updated as The New Spaniards in 1995 and 2006.