Cover image for Silvio Berlusconi : television, power and patrimony
Silvio Berlusconi : television, power and patrimony
Ginsborg, Paul.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London ; New York : Verso, [2004]

Physical Description:
xvi, 189 pages ; 20 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Buildings -- The making of a television empire -- Into politics -- Right and left : 1996?-2001 -- Berlusconi's project -- In power -- Resistances -- Postscript.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DG583.8.B47 G56 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Silvio Berlusconi, a family man with a taste for the good life, owner of a huge television empire and, most recently, the man who likened a German MEP to a Nazi camp commander... small wonder that much of liberal Europe and America has responded with considerable dismay and some mirth to his governance of Italy. Paul Ginsborg, a leading commentator on contemporary Italy, explains here why we should take Berlusconi seriously. Combining historical narrative - Berlusconi's childhood in the dynamic and paternalist Milanese bourgeoisie, his strict, religious schooling, a working life which has encompassed singing on Mediterranean cruise ships and the bankrolling of construction projects - with analysis of Berlusconi's political development, he shows how the Italian example is highly instructive for modern societies everywhere. politics, the nature of personal dominion at a time of crisis in representative democracy, the connection between the consumer world, families and politics, and the weaknesses of modern left-wing politics - are, Ginsborg suggests, near-universal; and we would do well to consider traits frequently ascribed to Berlusconi like spregiudicatezza, deft footing in the world of secret deals, and a sense of clan, as not specifically Italian.

Author Notes

Paul Ginsborg teaches history at Florence University.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Having had the misfortune of more than 50 governments in the postwar era, Italy is often seen as the politically bumbling least of the great powers, thus obscuring the significance of its current prime minister. With his newest volume, Ginsborg offers an excellent exegesis of the Berlusconi phenomenon. Ginsborg, who teaches history at the University of Florence, is also the author of analyses of postwar Italian history and society, A History of Contemporary Italy and Italy and Its Discontents. Here he does readers a service in pointing out that the Berlusconi phenomenon is not only unprecedented but also a mortal threat to democracy. Ginsborg's short book proceeds chronologically from Berlusconi's shadowy beginnings in the Milan construction business to his leap into television. As Ginsborg convincingly demonstrates, it was Berlusconi's revolutionary rethinking of the staid medium in the 1980s that laid the base for his political trajectory. Most brilliant is chapter five, "Berlusconi's Project," where Ginsborg lays bare the political and theoretical underpinnings of what some might call a more benign form of fascism. A concluding chapter examines the possibility and methods of resisting such a regime. This volume offers a succinct explanation of contemporary Italy by a man who has been in the forefront of a new movement, not formally allied to any political party, to restore and reinvigorate democracy in that country. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

Italian historian Ginsborg analyzes the rise of Berlusconi as Italian leader. Losing power after only six months in 1994, Berlusconi positioned himself to regain control of the Italian government in 2001. Ginsborg combines biography with a critique of contemporary Italian politics, arguing that the personalization of politics under Berlusconi has hurt the political system. Berlusconi has been able to bolster popular support through the use of symbols and the control of mass media. In addition, Berlusconi has met attempts to curtail his power with consistent legal challenges and delay tactics. According to Ginsborg, the weakness of left-wing parties has also contributed to Berlusconi's rise. The author suggests that elections in spring 2006 will be decisive for Italy and Europe. This is a valuable addition to the literature on the relationship between television and power. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Both undergraduate and graduate students will benefit from the Italian perspective. Also recommended for general readers, faculty, and practitioners. L. J. Roselle Elon University

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. ix
Glossaryp. xi
List of Presidents of the Council of Ministersp. xvii
Prologuep. 1
1 Buildingsp. 11
2 The Making of a Television Empirep. 28
3 Into Politicsp. 57
4 Right and Left: 1996-2001p. 81
5 Berlusconi's Projectp. 102
6 In Powerp. 132
7 Resistancesp. 162
Postscriptp. 175
Indexp. 185