Visiting Modern War in Risorgimento Italy

Hardcover | November 15, 2010

byJonathan Marwil

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This book examines the social and cultural consequences of a war normally looked at for its role in the story of Italian unification--the convergence of French, Austrian, and Piedmont-Sardinian armies in northern Italy in 1859, referred to in Italy as the “Second War for Independence.” In doing so it focuses on a series of individuals who visited these battlefields during the war and in the years afterwards, coming right down to 1959. The reaction of these visitors to what they saw prompted, among other responses, the taking of the first photographs of the dead of war, the installation of a new form of war memorial, the creation of the International Red Cross, and, more generally a new public awareness--thanks to the journalists who covered the war--of the horrors of the modern battlefield. Indeed, this brief conflict jolted consciousness as perhaps no other European war between 1815 and 1914, and it did so in some of the same ways as the Great War would.

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This book examines the social and cultural consequences of a war normally looked at for its role in the story of Italian unification--the convergence of French, Austrian, and Piedmont-Sardinian armies in northern Italy in 1859, referred to in Italy as the “Second War for Independence.” In doing so it focuses on a series of individuals ...

Jonathan Marwil is a Lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Michigan.

other books by Jonathan Marwil

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A History of Ann Arbor

Paperback|Apr 19 1991

$28.95

Format:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 8.42 × 5.64 × 0.76 inPublished:November 15, 2010Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:023010813X

ISBN - 13:9780230108134

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Table of Contents

Preparations for the Show * 2    Preliminaries * Serious War * Picturing the Horrors * “The Second Greatest Battle of Modern Times” * Blasted Dreams, Hopeful Lessons * Setting the War in Memory * Honoring the Dead * Epilogue

Editorial Reviews

“The theme of the compelling history of this short, sharp Austro-Piedmontese war is spectatorship. Told through the eyes of the people who went to northern Italy in 1859 to lead armies, fight, write about, paint and photograph the Battles of Montebello, Magenta and Solferino, Jonathan Marwil’s book shows how these individuals inserted themselves into a drama that briefly captivated publics in Milan, Paris, Vienna, London and New York. Marwil shows how the humanitarian cost of war, as well as the troubling morality of public consumption of the violence that left so many dead and maimed, emerged for many as the conflict’s primary legacy. Visiting Modern War in Risorgimento Italy illustrates the human capacity to accommodate opposing ideas; in this case, war as glory, and war as pity.”—Times Literary Supplement “Visiting Modern War in Risorgimento Italy is at once a compelling account of battle and a profound reflection on how the lens of culture distorts and softens the image of war. With keen perception and writerly verve, Jonathan Marwil conjures a cast of remarkable characters—artists and adventurers, writers and sightseers, all of them drawn to a long-ago scene of carnage—then shows us how their depiction of war evolved from horror to reverence to myth. It is a tour de force.”—James Tobin, author of Ernie Pyle’s War, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in biography “This is a beautiful and fascinating book. Lovingly crafted, it tells the story of one particularly bloody battle and the way that story was narrated, represented, photographed, painted and remembered and forgotten after the actual event had ended. The story is well told, the writing is excellent, and the book holds the reader from start to finish. There is also much original material throughout, especially the sections on photography and art, but also on the after-life of this battle in a whole series of other areas.”—John Foot, Professor of Modern Italian History in the Department of Italian, University College London, and author of Italy’s Divided Memory