This book is a biography of Francesco Crispi, a former prime minister of Italy and one of the most important and controversial figures in the country's history. He was among the chief architects of Italian unification and promoted the Risorgimento as the founding myth of Italy. Like Guiseppe Mazzini and many other democrats (and moderates), Crispi had an acute sense of the need to educate Italians. It was Crispi's attempts in the 1880s and 1890s to address the problem of Italy's political education that marked him out as an exceptional politician. This book paints Crispi as a man preoccupied with the problem of building a nation, and links the evolution of his thoughts and actions to the principal political, cultural, and economic developments that occurred from the 1830s to the end of the century. Crispi's political career has been inextricably linked to fascism and the problems of Italian liberalism in the 19th century.
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