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The Marvellous Italians. The Italians by John Hooper

During the Cold War, the Italians developed a huge imaginary army on its borders that fooled the Russians completely. This was an example of the Italian tradition of Fantasia, the creation of fictional systems or organisations. This has helped the country with defence, but it has also hindered it in several ways.

This is just one of the Italian traditions that John Hooper describes in his fascinating book. Others include the importance of first impressions and the belief in the sanctity of life. Hooper shows how the Italy's violent and divided history influenced the people and discusses the importance of the Roman Catholic religion to the country's character.

I started reading this book in Italy, and it certainly helped me understand the people more. Highly recommended!

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