Good Italy, Bad Italy

Why Italy Must Conquer Its Demons to Face the Future

Bill Emmott

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An original analysis of the war between the two opposing sides of Italy's national character

Not long ago Italy was Europe's highly touted emerging economy, a society that blended dynamism and super-fast growth with a lifestyle that was the envy of all. Now it is viewed as a major threat to the future of the Euro, indeed to the European Union as a whole. Italy's political system is shorn of credibility as it struggles to deal with huge public debts and anemic levels of economic growth. Young people are emigrating in droves, frustrated at the lack of opportunity, while older people stubbornly cling to their rights and privileges, fearful of an uncertain future.

In this lively, up-to-the-minute book, Bill Emmott explains how Italy sank to this low point, how Italians feel about it, and what can be done to return the country to more prosperous and more democratic times. With the aid of numerous personal interviews, Emmott analyzes "Bad Italy"—the land of disgraced Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, an inadequate justice system, an economy dominated by special interests and continuing corruption—against its contrasting foil "Good Italy," the home of enthusiastic entrepreneurs, truth-seeking journalists, and countless citizens determined to end mafia domination for good.

Bill Emmott was editor-in-chief of The Economist and is now a freelance commentator on international affairs. He divides his time between London and Somerset, UK.

“…a lively and readable analysis.”—The Bookseller


“Travelers to Italy this summer may find economic catastrophe as omnipresent as monuments and sidewalk cafes, according to this former editor-in-chief of the Economist. Emmott’s breezy narrative provides a quick overview of the beleaguered Italian economy and sketches some background causes for its woes before offering glimpses of a brighter future.”—Publishers Weekly

"[A] lucid and thoughtful book… it is written in a graceful style that is stronger for its careful - even delicate - illumination of personal and national failure than simply offering a wilderness of denunciations."—Financial Times

"…well-observed…"—Roger Boyes, The Times

"…a useful guide to the virtues and misdeeds of a nation long bedevilled by corruption and bad governance."—Ian Thomson, Evening Standard

"Engaging and stimulating."—David Gilmour, The Spectator

"An excellent account of what is rotten in the state of Italy."—Charles Grant, Literary Review

"Without wading in the historical processes that brought about Italy's unification, the former Editor in Chief of The Economist succeeds in drawing an honest and lucid picture of the last two decades of Italian society in typical British style."—The Global Journal

"Emmott’s book provides many helpful tools with which to consider Italy’s future."—Marco Niada, Financial World

"One of the book’s strengths is that the author fares well in ‘getting’ Italy." — Myriam Zandonin, International Affairs

“Display(s) rigorous research, clear-sighted analysis, and engaging, concise writing.”—Macleans
“Emmott writes clearly and succinctly.”—Foreign Affairs
ISBN: 9780300186307
Publication Date: August 14, 2012
304 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
Good Italy, Bad Italy

Why Italy Must Conquer Its Demons to Face the Future
Revised Edition

Bill Emmott

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