From the dust jacket: "Modern Sicily, the second of D. Mack Smith's two volumes on Sicilian history, begins with three eighteenth-century experiments in governing Sicily from abroad - from Turin, from Vienna, and finally from Naples. Occupied by the British during the Napoleonic Wars, it was succssfully invaded by Garibaldi in 1860, and for the last hundred years has been governed from Rome as part of a unified Italy. But the streak of violence, evidenced by its long history of brigandage and the sinister grip of the mafia as well as by frequent popular uprisings, persisted. Sicily became known not only for the beauty of its scenery and for its temples and ruins but for its crime, its high rate of emigration, and the dire poverty of its inhabitants. Mussolini's fascist regime did little to change this, and in the Second World War the island was once again invaded, by Anglo-American forces on their way to attack the Italian mainland. Only with the granting of regional autonomy, after 1946, has the future begun to brighten for this impoverished place, from whose 'proud insularity', as Mr Mack Smith says, 'much of the worst as well as the best in Sicilian history has come'. "Modern Sicily and its companion volume Medieval Sicily are part of the three-volume History of Sicily."
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A unique biological and cultural fusion of peoples from the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, including the Normans, is described in this fine, updated version of the 1968 three-volume History of Sicily by classical historian Finley, biographer Smith, abridged and revised largely by Duggan, an authority on the Mafia. Recorded along wth plagues, earthquakes and other natural disasters, is the often destructive impact of public policies Sicily experienced under a succession of conquerorsGreek, Roman, Arab, Norman and Spanish, among themuntil the island's unification with Italy and its participation in 20th century world conflicts. Although in postWW II years Sicily was granted greater autonomy and the 2000-year political hold of big landowners was broken, improvements in agriculture and industry have been thwarted largely, the authors surmise, because of a political-patronage system and a resurgence of the Mafia, which the judiciary has been unable to uproot. Photos.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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