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  • What's not to love? A thoroughly researched, well-written, ageless narrative of a fascinating people

  • Thanks to his great curiosity, his splendid comparative and analytical perspective, and a fine eye for telling details, John Hooper gets under the skin of a fascinating people in a remarkable and compelling way

    Bill Emmott
  • John Hooper is a supremely able and experienced foreign correspondent who has mastered a particular subgenre of his craft: the detailed and comprehensive study of individual countries... an admirable piece of work, unassuming but authoritative. If Hooper really were a diplomat instead of a reporter, it would surely earn him his knighthood

    Jan Morris, Literary Review
  • John Hooper refuses to succumb to easy cliche while explaining the best and worst of Italy. Mixing the amusing titbit with the big picture, he provides context for the question that perplexes the occasional visitor: how come a country that has produced Berlusconi, "bunga bunga" parties, the mafia and an extraordinary bureaucracy is still so attractive?

    John Kampfner, The Guardian
  • Hooper has written a fascinating, affectionate and well-researched study that delivers the tantalising flavour of a country as hot, cold, bitter and sweet as an affogato

    Christian House, The Telegraph
  • An amusing and engrossing account of a thoroughly irresponsible nation

    Brian Sewell, The Independent
  • Italy remains the most fascinating of countries, often perplexing and yet always engaging. Hooper does it justice. People who don't know Italy will find this book a splendid introduction. Those who know and love the country will find much that is new as well as familiar, much that will have them nodding in agreement, some observations that will meet with the response , "not to my mind". It deserves to sit happily on the bookshelf beside Barzini; and that is high praise

    Allan Massie, The Scotsman
  • This portrait of a nation is required reading for anyone heading to a Tuscan villa or Puglian beach this summer

    Tom Robbins, Financial Times

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