the italian revolution: the end of politics, italian style?by mark gilbert

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  • The Italian Revolution: The End of Politics, Italian Style? by Mark GilbertReview by: Stanley HoffmannForeign Affairs, Vol. 74, No. 6 (Nov. - Dec., 1995), pp. 128-129Published by: Council on Foreign RelationsStable URL: .Accessed: 16/06/2014 06:52

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    transformation of Britain into a multira

    cial "magpie" society in the 1950s. It is

    quite a demolition job.

    From the Boer War to the Cold War: Essays on

    Twentieth-Century Europe, by a. j.

    p. Taylor. New York: Penguin, 1995,

    454 pp. $34.95. This collection of approximately 70 essays of varying lengths, including many book reviews and talks for the bbc, is a dazzling

    display of Taylor s knack for incisive,

    witty, and opinionated analysis and his

    passion for understanding the motives

    and foibles of statesmen. There are fine,

    sympathetic treatments of Trotsky and

    Roger Casement, excellent character

    sketches of Balfour, Lloyd George, Bald

    win, Bevin, and (above all) Churchill, and a disturbing lecture on British domestic

    politics during the First World War. Hitler is described as having "had a depth and elaboration of evil all his own, as

    though something primitive had emerged from the bowels of the earth." Taylor

    emerges from this collection as a generous reviewer and a farsighted commentator:

    in 1966 he wrote that "Communists would

    like to be all the wicked things their

    opponents say they are. They would like

    to be subversive, unscrupulous, and ruth

    less. In fact, they are only unsuccessful."

    The Crisis of the Italian State: From the

    Origins of the Cold War to the Fall of Berlusconi, by Patrick mccarthy.

    New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995, 220 pp. $39.95.

    This analysis of the crisis of Italy's parlia

    mentary and party system by a learned

    and thought-provoking professor of

    European studies at The Johns Hopkins University Bologna Center provides an

    account of the turbulent politics of

    1992-94. That period saw the "revenge" of the magistrates against the clientelistic

    political system set up by the Christian Democrats and their allies, the collapse of the Christian Democratic Party, and

    the rise of Berlusconi's Forza Italia. But

    McCarthy's ambitions go far beyond this: he tries to explain how the post-Mus solini system emerged, to throw light on the complex relations between the Vati

    can (to which he attributes a decisive

    influence) and the faction-ridden, Chris tian Democrats to show that the role of

    the United States in Italian politics was less constraining than received opinion has it, and to examine the reasons for the

    relative failure of the Italian Communist

    Party. McCarthy has many shrewd things to say about the corruption of the state

    and its relations with a rapidly changing Italian society. For all its lucidity, insight, and originality, this would have been an even better book if it had been longer and less compressed.

    The Italian Revolution: The End of Politics, Italian Style?

    by mark

    gilbert. Boulder: Westview, 1995,

    204 pp. $44-95 (paper, $i4.95) Anyone wishing for a much more detailed

    account of the Italian political crisis than

    the one offered in McCarthy's book will find it here. Gilbert, a political scientist, is reluctant to speculate about the future, but

    he does a very good job analyzing the role of the Mafia, the rise and decline of the

    Northern League, the fate of the commu

    nists, and the sweeping character and

    effects of the judges' Operation Clean Hands. The complexities, paradoxes, and mystifications of Italian politics as

    described here are likely to leave the reader

    [l28] FOREIGN AFFAIRS - Volume74No.6

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    wondering how this system, worthy of a

    cheap thriller, could have lasted so


    (See McCarthy's book for the answer.)

    Nazi Germany: A New History, by klaus

    p. fischer. New York: Continuum,

    1995.734 pp. $37-50 This massive study by an intellectual his

    torian is an excellent, clear, comprehen

    sive, and sensible synthesis of all that is

    known about Hitler and his hideous

    regime. Fischer wisely emphasizes the

    many factors that made Germans suscep tible to the totalitarian adventure and

    shows how skillfully and ruthlessly Hitler

    exploited these circumstances. His analysis of the "totalitarian racial state"?with its

    brutality and its confusion?is exemplary. Fischer tries hard to understand and

    explain Hitler's personality, and it is not

    his fault if his attempts are not entirely

    satisfactory: the man, with all his hatreds,

    delusions, and talent for leadership was

    too monstrous ever to be elucidated.

    Farewell, Revolution: Disputed Legacies, France, 1789/1989. by steven

    Laurence kaplan. Ithaca: Cornell

    University Press, 1995,573 pp. $29.95.

    Originally published in France, this book

    by a historian ofthat country's eighteenth

    century is a highly entertaining, exhaustive

    (but not exhausting) account of the poli tics and theater of the commemoration in

    1989 of the 200th anniversary of the

    French Revolution. Staged by a socialist

    regime, the event tried to find a middle course between uncritical celebration and

    the newly fashionable debunking of the French Revolution, by a coalition of

    counter-revolutionaries and (often ex

    communist) neoconservatives, as a fore

    runner of totalitarianism. The book is

    both a brilliant description of the show put on by Jean-Paul Goude, "designer-artist

    adman," and a critique of the prevailing

    tendency to reduce the revolution to its

    ideological dimensions and deviations.

    Western Hemisphere KENNETH MAXWELL

    The Black Diaspora: Five Centuries of the Black Experience outside Africa,


    ronald segal. New York: Farrar, Straus ?cGiroux, 1995,477 pp. $27\5?.

    A Tocquevillesque wandering through the history and contemporary life experi ences of communities of African origin, this book focuses on the world bordering the Atlantic. A well-known writer with

    several excellent books to his credit,

    Segal is South African. He was born, he

    says, "into a Diaspora myself, the Jewish

    Diaspora, in a country, South Africa, where Jews occupied both a privileged and a perilous position." An outspoken critic of apartheid, he fled to England

    with Oliver Tambo in i960. His account of the history of the slave

    trade is lucid if not particularly original, though slavery is central to the black

    diaspora and provides the central organ

    izing principle for Segal's explorations. The strength of his book lies in the accounts of his own travels and observa

    tions from Brazil to Michigan and from

    Martinique to Cuba. Faced with the cur

    rent gloomy avalanche of books about

    African-Americans, consisting largely of

    To order any book reviewed or advertised in Foreign Affairs, fax 1-203-966-4329.

    FOREIGN AFFAIRS- November/December 1995 [ 12 9 ]

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    Article Contentsp. 128p. 129

    Issue Table of ContentsForeign Affairs, Vol. 74, No. 6 (Nov. - Dec., 1995), pp. I-IV, 1-160Front MatterCommentsAfter the Oil Boom: The Holiday Ends in the Gulf [pp. 2-7]Chirac of France: A New Leader of the West? [pp. 8-13]Dominance through Technology: Is Japan Creating a Yen Bloc in Southeast Asia? [pp. 14-20]

    EssaysOur Overstuffed Armed Forces [pp. 22-34]A New China Strategy [pp. 35-49]Is America Abandoning Multilateral Trade? [pp. 50-62]Changing IranThe Limits of the Revolution [pp. 63-76]Germany's New Ostpolitik [pp. 77-89]

    Jimmy Carter's Modest Quest for Global Peace [pp. 90-100]

    ReviewsReview EssayReview: Playing Powell Politics: The General's Zest for Power [pp. 102-110]Review: The Rights of Nature: Has Deep Ecology Gone Too Far? [pp. 111-115]

    Recent Books on International RelationsPolitical and LegalReview: untitled [p. 116-116]Review: untitled [pp. 116-117]Review: untitled [p. 117-117]Review: untitled [pp. 117-118]Review: untitled [p. 118-118]Review: untitled [p. 118-118]Review: untitled [pp. 118-119]

    Economic, Social