Written by one of the world's leading historians of Italy, this provocative and highly readable book is the first major study of the Italian monarchy and its impact on Italy's history, from Unification in 1861 to the foundation of the Italian republic after the Second World War. 'Mack Smith is the leading writer in English on nineteenth and twentieth century Italian history ... He has now written a study of the Italian Monarchy that subjects the four kings of united Italy to a debunking treatment. He shows how indispensable the monarchy was for the working of the Italian political system, but also how it was ultimately disastrous.' James Joll, 'New York Review of Books' 'A book to be read and enjoyed. It is urbane and stylish.' Richard Bosworth, 'International History Review' 'Brilliant, remarkable, highly entertaining, only Mack Smith could have told what is finally so shabby a story with this combination of learning and bravura.' Nicholas Richardson, 'Sunday Times' 'A brilliant narrative history of the political role of the kings of Italy.' Philip Mansel, 'Daily Telegraph' Nominated for a 1990 'Los Angeles Times' Book Prize in the History category. Denis Mack Smith is a Fellow of the British Academy and a Commendatore of the Italian Order of Merit. An Emeritus Fellow of All Souls, Oxford, he is also an Extraordinary Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford, and an Honorary Fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge.