Written by one of the world's leading historians of Italy, this provocative and highly readable book is the first major study of the Italian monarchy and its impact on Italy's history, from Unification in 1861 to the foundation of the Italian republic after the Second World War.
"Brilliant, . . . remarkable, . . . highly entertaining. . . . Only Mack Smith could have told what is finally so shabby a story with this combination of learning and bravura."—Nicholas Richardson, Sunday Times
"A brilliant narrative history of the political role of the kings of Italy. It is based on an immense range of sources."—Philip Mansel, Daily Telegraph
"Mack Smith is the leading writer in English on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Italian history. . . . [He] has now written a study of the Italian monarchy that subjects the four kings of united Italy to [. . . a] . . . debunking treatment. He shows how indispensable the monarchy was for the working of the Italian political system, but also how it was ultimately disastrous."—James Joll, New York Review of Books
"A welcome addition to libraries in the English-speaking world. . . . Denis Mack Smith shows masterful command of political and diplomatic sources and balanced historical judgment."—Clara M. Lovett, American Historical Review
"A book to be read and enjoyed. It is urbane [and] stylish."—Richard Bosworth, International History Review