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The Italians
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Sublime and maddening, fascinating yet baffling, Italy is a country of endless paradox and seemingly unanswerable riddles. John Hooper's marvellously entertaining and perceptive new book is the ideal companion for anyone seeking to understand contemporary Italy and the unique character of the Italians. Looking at the facts that lie behind - and often belie - the stereotypes, his revealing book sheds new light on many aspects of Italian life: football and Freemasonry, sex, symbolism and the reason why Italian has twelve words for a coat hanger, yet none for a hangover.
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About the Author

John Hooper is Italy correspondent of the Economist and Southern Europe editor of the Guardian and Observer. He has spent more than thirty years as a foreign correspondent, reporting principally from the Mediterranean, but also on the conflicts in Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Afghanistan. His book The Spaniards (later revised under the title The New Spaniards) has established itself as a classic. The Italians is the fruit of more than 15 years based in Italy.

Reviews

What's not to love? A thoroughly researched, well-written, ageless narrative of a fascinating people * Kirkus * Thanks to his great curiosity, his splendid comparative and analytical perspective, and a fine eye for telling details, John Hooper gets under the skin of a fascinating people in a remarkable and compelling way -- Bill Emmott John Hooper is a supremely able and experienced foreign correspondent who has mastered a particular subgenre of his craft: the detailed and comprehensive study of individual countries... an admirable piece of work, unassuming but authoritative. If Hooper really were a diplomat instead of a reporter, it would surely earn him his knighthood -- Jan Morris * Literary Review * John Hooper refuses to succumb to easy cliche while explaining the best and worst of Italy. Mixing the amusing titbit with the big picture, he provides context for the question that perplexes the occasional visitor: how come a country that has produced Berlusconi, "bunga bunga" parties, the mafia and an extraordinary bureaucracy is still so attractive? -- John Kampfner * The Guardian * Hooper has written a fascinating, affectionate and well-researched study that delivers the tantalising flavour of a country as hot, cold, bitter and sweet as an affogato -- Christian House * The Telegraph * An amusing and engrossing account of a thoroughly irresponsible nation -- Brian Sewell * The Independent * Italy remains the most fascinating of countries, often perplexing and yet always engaging. Hooper does it justice. People who don't know Italy will find this book a splendid introduction. Those who know and love the country will find much that is new as well as familiar, much that will have them nodding in agreement, some observations that will meet with the response , "not to my mind". It deserves to sit happily on the bookshelf beside Barzini; and that is high praise -- Allan Massie * The Scotsman * This portrait of a nation is required reading for anyone heading to a Tuscan villa or Puglian beach this summer -- Tom Robbins * Financial Times *

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