Robert Katz’s History of Modern Italy
An in-depth English language resource with an independent point of view.
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The past is not dead.  It's not even past. – William Faulkner

N ew and unique on the Internet, ", Robert Katz’s History of Modern Italy," is meant to serve as a multi-layered reference work for English-language speakers and writers with an interest in the subject matter viewed from the author’s perspective.

Robert Katz, who has lived in Italy for decades, has written more than one million words on Italian history. They have taken the form of books, essays and articles, feature films, documentaries, and television reportage –a work of independent investigative reporting surveying the vicissitudes of a great civilization from pre-Renaissance times to the present day, with particular emphasis on the 20th century: the rise and fall of Fascism, Italy in World War II, and beyond. The focus then shifts to the author as an eyewitness observer of, and sometimes participant in, the turbulent quarter-century between the Anni di piombo – the “Years of Lead” of the 1970s – and the years of fear of the post 9/11 world.

TheBoot seeks to provide free access to much of this material and the extensive research on which it is based. Having added an Italian-language section (click "Edizione Italiana"), the site aspires to become an international salon, in the old-fashioned sense of the word, with the author's participation in an interactive forum of opinion and debate. Guest critics will be welcomed.


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A sampling of English dictionaries reveals no dissent in defining a “time capsule”: a container storing objects of the present civilization for discovery in some future age. Usually placed ceremoniously under ground or in a cornerstone, they are just as often soon forgotten, as the present folds into the past and the future arrives with better things to do. In the annals of time encapsulation, a new age dawned in 1972 with the launching of the spacecraft Pioneer 10 (later joined by Pioneer 11). Invested with a mission unlike any other since the beginning of life on earth, the Pioneers are on a journey to the stars. They a message from our planet, a pictograph certain to be understood by an extraterrestrial intelligence – if recovered. (Read NASA's detailed account)

What all this has to do with TheBoot’s Time Capsules is purely inspirational. Our capsules, however, are well within the dictionary definition: the stored object is a writer’s artifact (basically an essay) thought to be representative of a culture – the history of modern Italy. They are presented here virtually unchanged from the day they were “sealed” – trapped in the amber of their origins and unpolished by the benefit of hindsight. A kind of poor-man-and-woman’s Pioneer, they, too, seek the stars, and the beacon raised by Faulkner (in the words that appear on this page) illuminates the endless byways between the immortal past and the unborn future.

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