Silvio Berlusconi, head of Italy's government since 2001, has an unenviable reputation: his dubbing by The Economist as 'Burlesquoni' met with knowing approval among disdainful Europeans and Americans. None the less Paul Ginsborg, one of contemporary Italy's foremost historians, thinks that the Berlusconi phenomenon merits serious attention, and not only in Italy. While acknowledging that Berlusconi might well fail -- his record in government has so far been dismal -- he argues that many aspects of the present Italian experience reflect crucial trends in contemporary politics and mass culture. His book combines classic biographical traits -- Berlusconi's childhood in Milan during and after the Second World War, his strict religious schooling, his dynamic working life -- with acute political and social analysis. There emerges the picture of a man of insatiable appetites, bull-headed and willing to take considerable risks, deeply attuned to the dominant values and to the sophisticated communication techniques of modernity. sGinsborg illustrates brilliantly the peculiar italianita of Berlusconi's trajectory, but also argues that it illuminates many international tendencies: the personalisation of politics at a time of crisis in representative democracy, the distorted relationship between the media system and politics, the construction of dependencies by the binding of families to commercial television and the world of goods. In all this, Ginsborg suggests, Berlusconi has got as far as he has thanks to the wide-open space left by the strategic weaknesses of modern left-wing politics.
|Product dimensions:||5.70(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Author of the highly acclaimed books A History of Contemporary Italy and Italy and Its Discontents, Paul Ginsborg teaches history at Florence University.
Table of Contents
|List of Presidents of the Council of Ministers||xvii|
|2||The Making of a Television Empire||28|
|4||Right and Left: 1996-2001||81|