The long-awaited volume by one of Sicily's favorite historians captures four thousand years of history in just over four hundred fascinating pages.
Louis Mendola, author of Sicilian Genealogy and Heraldry and co-author of The Peoples of Sicily has produced what is destined to become a definitive work. Here "the Indiana Jones of Italian history" presents a readable narrative along with a few nuggets never before published.
We shouldn't be surprised, considering that the Acknowledgments read like a "Who's Who" of contemporary history. The author states at the very beginning that he could never have written this work – in this form – without the information provided him by the witnesses and participants of great events.
Especially interesting were details regarding the Allied invasion of 1943. Born long after that date, the author knew members of the Allied Military Government whose accounts of certain events had never been published. But they won't be revealed here. You'll have to purchase the book to find out what they are.
The History of Sicily is a rare treasure that treats Sicily in the sophisticated, cosmopolitan light she deserves, without avoiding modern topics that many authors have chosen to ignore. Here Fascism and the Mafia, each with its own chapter, are covered in what is a fairly detailed manner for a "generalist" work of this kind. But so are other subjects which most historians practically ignore, things like Judaism in Sicily and the genetic research that confirms the island's colonization by successive civilizations.
Following the pattern established by his Peoples of Sicily, Mendola provides the reader with plenty of background on Sicily's geography, flora, fauna, cuisine and population. The historic religions of Sicily are also considered, along with its language and culture. Here the author explains the who, the what and the where, but also the why.
And the simple, descriptive title? Well, why not?
This is a very updated history with an eminently traditional approach, offering us reliable methodology and nice details like clear maps. Clearly, this is an author as passionate about his calling as he is about his subject. But this is not history for its own sake. Here you'll actually enjoy learning about the world's most conquered island.
The History of Sicily - ISBN 9780991588626 - Library of Congress Control Number 2014943599