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John Hooper The Italians

February 17, 201514 min
How can a nation that gave us the Renaissance have produced the Mafia? How could a people so concerned with bella figura (keeping up appearances) have chosen Silvio Berlusconi as their leader—and not just once but three times? Sublime and maddening, Italy is a country of seemingly unsolvable riddles. In The Italians, British journalist John Hooper explores the fascinating story of a country divided by geography and dialect, by politics and history. Overrun by invaders at intervals for 1,500 years, Italy’s people may have an uneasy relationship with foreigners. But foreigners love them. Digging deep into their history, culture and religion, Hooper offers keys to understanding everything from their bewildering politics to their love of life and beauty, football and freemasonry, sex, symbolism and the reason why the Italian language has twelve words for a coat hanger, yet none for a hangover. • By 2005, 82% of Italian men between the ages of 18 and 30 were still living with th

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