Publishers Weekly, 1987-10-30 As social history, with something of the flavor and immediacy of fiction, this story of a famous family stretching from 1762 to 1907 is interesting and well done. The book skillfully stitches together biographical facts and numerous family letters, the latter showing how, during the Napoleonic era, the risorgimento and beyond, the Manzonis, and to an extent upper-class Italians in general, thought, felt, aspired and suffered (the premature death rate among the Manzonis was appalling). The disappointments here are that few of the men and women in Ginzburg's crowded gallery are memorable for their personalities or achievements. Even Alessandro Manzoni (1785-1873), the main focus, comes through more vividly as a distracted family man than as the man of letters and author of the famous romantic novel I promessi sposi. Ginzburg, an Italian member of parliament, is the author of All Our Yesterdays. (November 30) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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