The life of the iconic libertine Giacomo Casanova (1725–1798) has never been told in the depth it deserves. An alluring representative of the Enlightenment’s shadowy underside, Casanova was an aspiring priest, an army officer, a fortune teller, a con man, a magus, a violinist, a mathematician, a Masonic master, an entrepreneur, a diplomat, a gambler, a spy—and the first to tell his own story. In his vivid autobiography Histoire de Ma Vie, he recorded at least a hundred and twenty love affairs, as well as dramatic sagas of duels, swindles, arrests, and escapes. He knew kings and an empress, Catherine the Great, and most of the famous writers of the time, including Voltaire and Benjamin Franklin. […Learn More]
By the third century BC, the once-modest settlement of Rome had conquered most of Italy and was poised to build an empire throughout the Mediterranean basin. What transformed a humble city into the preeminent power of the region? In The Rise of Rome, the historian and archaeologist Kathryn Lomas reconstructs the diplomatic ploys, political stratagems, and cultural exchanges whereby Rome established itself as a dominant player in a region already brimming with competitors. […Learn More]
A remarkable new history evoking the centrality of Italy to World War II, outlining the brief rise and triumph of the Fascists, followed by the disastrous fall of the Italian military campaign.
While staying closely aligned with Hitler, Mussolini remained carefully neutral until the summer of 1940. […Learn More]
A riveting history of the city that led the West out of the ruins of the Roman Empire
At the end of the fourth century, as the power of Rome faded and Constantinople became the seat of empire, a new capital city was rising in the West. Here, in Ravenna on the coast of Italy, Arian Goths and Catholic Romans competed to produce an unrivaled concentration of buildings and astonishing mosaics. […Learn More]
The epic story of the US Army’s 10th Mountain Division, whose elite soldiers broke the last line of German defenses in Italy’s mountains in 1945, spearheading the Allied advance to the Alps and final victory
At the start of World War II, the US Army had two cavalry divisions—and no mountain troops. The German Wehrmacht, in contrast, had many well-trained and battle-hardened mountain divisions, some of whom, by 1943, had blocked the Allied advance in the Italian campaign. […Learn More]