Synopses & Reviews
Silvio Berlusconi, a self-made man with a taste for luxurious living, owner of a huge television empire and, most recently, the man who likened a German MEP to a Nazi concentration-camp guard small wonder that much of democratic Europe and America has responded with considerable dismay and disdain to his governance of Italy. Paul Ginsborg, contemporary Italy's foremost historian, explains here why we should take Berlusconi seriously.
His new book combines historical narrative Berlusconi's childhood in the dynamic and paternalist Milanese bourgeoisie, his strict religious schooling, a working life which has encompassed crooning, large construction projects and the creation of a commercial television empire with careful analysis of Berlusconi's political development. While never forgetting the italianita of Berlusconi's trajectory, he argues that the Italian example is highly instructive for all modern societies.
What Berlusconi represents the relationship between the media system and politics, the nature of personal dominion at a time of crisis in representative democracy, the connection between the consumer world, families and politics, and the exploitation of the wide-open spaces left by the strategic weaknesses of modern left-wing politics are, Ginsborg suggests, near-universal.
"Mr. Ginsborg's succinct and lucid account is a history of Mr. Berlusconi's trajectory to power and an analysis of how his business interests...and his privatization ideologies form a coherent project for political and cultural dominance." The New York Times
"[A] penetrating and disquieting book....Berlusconi's dismal record in government, especially on the economy, and his increasingly strained relations with his coalition partners in the war against Iraq may yet bring him down. But he is nothing if not a survivor, and Paul Ginsborg's masterly study highlights the danger of underestimating him." Christopher Duggan, The Times Literary Supplement (read the entire Times Literary Supplement review)
This succinct and lucid account is a history of Mr. Berlusconi's trajectory to power and an analysis of how his business interests ... and his privatization ideologies form a coherent project for political and cultural dominance.
About the Author
Author of the highly acclaimed books A History of Contemporary Italy and Italy and Its Discontents, Paul Ginsborg teaches history at Florence University.