Gilmour is convinced that liberals, Catholics, and socialists underestimated fascist Mussolini. As prime minister, he ruled the country from 1922-1943 and didn’t need a revolution or coup to gain power. He took it constitutionally. No one seemed to take notice when he started taking over positions and squads began beating and killing political opponents. Fascism was like a religion which became equated with Mussolini. It was a technique to acquire power, and along the way, promote virility and maternity. Having just learned the word pastiche, I was interested in Gilmour’s description of Mussolini’s architecture as a pastiche of classism and fascism.
Gilmour often questions if Italy is truly a nation. As recently as 1994 the two main political parties- Communist and Christian Democracy--dissolved and in 1996 there was a short-lived attempt by northern Italy to secede. In recent years Spain’s GDP surpassed Italy. In 2010, China rivaled Italy in the production of spectacles, glass, shoes and clothing. Lethargy often predominates a country where, in 2008, only 16% of Italians trusted their politicians. In 2011, the 150st celebration of unification, the division between the poorer south and the rich north was still present.
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