Christopher Duggan's excellent book is not so much a history of Italy as it is a history of the nation of Italy. As he demonstrates, Italian nationalism was confined to a few intellectuals, artists and professionals, with regional identities predominant among the rest of the population. As a result, unification was superficial for much of the populace, who often found themselves at odds with the liberal state and forced to choose between this artificial link and their much deeper-seated loyalty to the Catholic Church. This approach helps make the appeal of Fascism much more understandable, with Duggan's analysis of this period one of the strongest points of this book. In the end, the reader is left with a deeper understanding of the problems Italy faces today, and perhaps as well a skepticism about the ability of Italians to address them in the future.