Silvio Berlusconi: Television, Power and Patrimony

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9781844675418: Silvio Berlusconi: Television, Power and Patrimony
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Silvio Berlusconi, a self-made man with a taste for luxurious living, owner of a huge television empire and the politician who likened a German MEP to a Nazi concentration camp guard—small wonder that much of democratic Europe and America has responded with considerable dismay and disdain to his governance of Italy.

Paul Ginsborg, contemporary Italy’s foremost historian, explains here why we should take Berlusconi seriously. His new book combines historical narrative–Berlusconi’s childhood in the dynamic and paternalist Milanese bourgeoisie, his strict religious schooling, a working life which has encompassed crooning, large construction projects and the creation of a commercial television empire–with careful analysis of Berlusconi’s political development.

While highlighting the particular italianita of Berlusconi’s trajectory, Ginsborg also finds international tendencies, such as the distorted relationship between the media system and politics. Throughout, Ginsborg suggests that Berlusconi has gotten as far as he has thanks to the wide-open space left by the strategic weaknesses of modern left-wing politics.

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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.

From Publishers Weekly:

Having had the misfortune of more than 50 governments in the postwar era, Italy is often seen as the politically bumbling least of the great powers, thus obscuring the significance of its current prime minister. With his newest volume, Ginsborg offers an excellent exegesis of the Berlusconi phenomenon. Ginsborg, who teaches history at the University of Florence, is also the author of analyses of postwar Italian history and society, A History of Contemporary Italy and Italy and Its Discontents. Here he does readers a service in pointing out that the Berlusconi phenomenon is not only unprecedented but also a mortal threat to democracy. Ginsborg's short book proceeds chronologically from Berlusconi's shadowy beginnings in the Milan construction business to his leap into television. As Ginsborg convincingly demonstrates, it was Berlusconi's revolutionary rethinking of the staid medium in the 1980s that laid the base for his political trajectory. Most brilliant is chapter five, "Berlusconi's Project," where Ginsborg lays bare the political and theoretical underpinnings of what some might call a more benign form of fascism. A concluding chapter examines the possibility and methods of resisting such a regime. This volume offers a succinct explanation of contemporary Italy by a man who has been in the forefront of a new movement, not formally allied to any political party, to restore and reinvigorate democracy in that country.
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