Franklin Hugh Adler, Italian Industrialists from Liberalism to Fascism. The Political Development of the Industrial Bourgeoisie, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1996, xv + 458 pp., ISBN 0–521–433406–8 hbk, £40.00
Giuseppe Berta, Il governo degli interessi. Industriali, rappresentanza e politica nell'Italia del nord-ovest 1906–1924, Marsilio, Venice, 1996, xv + 175 pp., ISBN 88–317–6342–3 pbk, 32,000 Lire
Storia della Confindustria 1900–1914, Marsilio, Venice, 1994, 266 pp., ISBN 88–317–5850–0 hbk, 70,000 Lire
The three books under review trace the organization of industrial interests in Italy from the foundation of the Lega industrial di Torino (LIT) in 1906 to the insertion of Confindustria into the Fascist totalitarian state. As Franklin Hugh Adler's ambitious and detailed account relates the Lega (LIT) begat first a Federazione Industriali Piemontesi (1908) and then the Confederazione Italiana dell'Industria (CIDI) in 1910 which was relaunched as the Confederazione generale dell'industria Italiana (Confindustria) in 1919. All of these organizations came under the effective direction of Gino Olivetti, the first secretary of the Lega who emerges from Adler's analysis as the principal theorist of a liberalproductionist ideology that the author regards as the central value system of the Italian industrial bourgeoisie. The slimmer volumes (in both scope and size) of Giuseppe Berta and Giorgio Fiocca diverge from Adler's account in stressing the discontinuities in the process of association which are attributed to the triumph of one industrial faction over another, and the changes in direction consequent upon this. By presenting these organizations within the broader context of entrepreneurial and associational activity, their accounts also call into question the extent to which the positions of Confindustria can be assumed to be representative of Italian industrialists as a whole.