“Among the few indisputable masterpieces of contemporary history.” —Financial Times
A Civil War is a history of the wartime Italian Resistance, recounted by a historian who, when only a boy, took part in the struggle against Mussolini’s fascist Republic. Since its publication in Italy, Claudio Pavone’s masterwork has become indispensable to anyone seeking to understand this period and its continuing importance for the nation’s identity.
Pavone casts a sober eye on his protagonists’ ethical and ideological motivations. He uncovers a multilayered conflict, in which class antagonisms, patriotism and political ideals all played a part. A clear understanding of this complexity allows him to explain many details of the post-war transition, as well as the legacy of the Resistance for modern Italy. In addition to being a monumental work of scholarship, A Civil War is a folk history, capturing events, personalities and attitudes that were on the verge of slipping entirely out of recollection to the detriment of Italy’s understanding of itself and its past.