The Italians

by John Hooper

The author is a journalist and foreign correspondent, most recently for The Economist in Italy and the Vatican.  With this book he looks at various aspects of Italian life and explores how Italians behave and why they do so.

My Italian daughter-in-law Debbie recommended this book to me.  I ordered a copy straight away, and read it gradually over several months. Each chapter addresses a different aspect of the Italian character and way of doing things.  So yes, it deals with the importance of family, the prevalence of corruption in public affairs, the importance of appearances (fare una bella figura) and many other areas of Italian private and public life.  For me, it was an eye-opener and enables me to understand Debbie’s upbringing and my consuoceri (son’s in-laws) a little better.

I will keep an eye out for Hooper’s journalism.  And maybe return to this book from time to time, planning, as I do, to get to know Italy and the Italians a little better over the coming years.