The Italians

  • by John Hooper
  • Narrated by Gareth Armstrong
  • 9 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

John Hooper's marvelously entertaining and perceptive new book is ideal for anyone seeking to understand contemporary Italy and the unique character of the Italians.
Looking at the facts that lie behind and often belie the stereotypes, his revealing book sheds new light on many aspects of Italian life: football and Freemasonry, sex, symbolism, and the reason Italian has twelve words for a coat hanger yet none for a hangover


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Mi piace molto!

This is one of the many books either about Italy or in Italian I've read over the last year, and it was lots of fun. I was hesitant at first because of some of the bad reviews I'd seen on amazon. I had the impression that perhaps Hooper was of the "disdainful Englishman abroad" variety, the ones who sniff, "The problem with Italy is the Italians," which is a viewpoint I've heard too many times. In the end I felt he was fair. After all, this is his view of the Italians, not the last word on the subject.

It's dangerous to generalize, but it's also human nature to do so. That said, I admit Italians both fascinate and bewilder me and I adore them for it. I've loved all the Italians I've known. I love Italian opera, music, art, fashion, and so many other things they've contributed to the world. Crooked politicians and criminal enterprises aside --- and heaven knows these things aren't limited to Italy --- it is an incredibly rich and beautiful country.

But if you don't love the Italians, you might as well leave them be because they're not going to change to suit your point of view, which is more or less the subtext of Hooper's writing. I think this particularly applies to the Roman Church. As Hooper says, Italy made the Catholic Church, not the other way around. That speaks volumes, and as a Catholic, it makes a great deal of sense to me.

Gareth Armstrong is one of my favorite narrators, and he gave his usual top class performance here.

Give it a listen if you have any interest in Italy. It made me want to grab my passport and head back to Lombardia at once....

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- Die Falknerin

Quirky at times, but a good read

I'm not an Italophile, but am interested in learning about other places, and the audio sample seemed pretty good, so I decided to get this one.

Basically, it's an overview of aspects of Italian culture that have struck the expat author as ... notable: rampant cheating on exams, string resistance to eating foreign foods, wearing sunglasses on cloudy days, the mixed feelings on religion, and so forth; his section on (organized) crime near the end got a bit deep in the weeds for me, but otherwise I found the book interesting.

Honestly, 3.5 stars for content; however, the audio narration was enthusiastic, without being over-the-top, so it gets rounded up for that.
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- John S.

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-07-2015
  • Publisher: Whole Story Audiobooks