The Civil War is Alive and Well in Italy

This past spring I had the pleasure of welcoming one of my blog readers from Italy who is both a high school history teacher and an avid Civil War enthusiast.  We spent the day touring the Richmond-Petersburg area battlefields and have stayed in touch ever since.  The following was written by Giuseppe Rufino on the challenges of writing about the Civil War outside of the United States. 

I met Kevin during my stay in America last spring.  Well there is no need to remind you of what he thouroughly described about our walks of Virginia battlefields.  Yet there are other things that I would like to impress upon all readers of  his wonderful blog.  In the first place I want to express my thankfulness to him for giving me the opportunity to write here.  Without his support and that of many other people “on the other side of the pond’, the job I’m doing in my country would not be possible.  I conveyed to Kevin the status of research and culture in Italy of the American Civil War in a recent blog post which you can find here.

Now there is something else to add. Last year I concluded some personal research about the Gettysburg campaign, which gave birth to a book.  At the time I had to find an editor until just a few months ago. Needless to say this is just a first step.  I started with the intention of writing an essay for my curriculum vitae requirements, yet the more I progressed the more I was convinced that I should write a popular history of the Civil War for distribution in Italy.  I cannot rule out that this will be the target of my next work.  We’ll see. [Giuseppe’s Gettysburg study can be found here.]

I have succeded in capturing one’s attention, although more must be done for commercial purposes.  As far as I am concerned I only  wish to say that if an attempt could be made to change some stereotypes about your country’s history I hope I have done my share.  It was also helpful to me to change some of the views I had about the Civil War and I think only through dedicated research, along with the love for historic truth and a dialogue with fellow-colleagues, can help to perform this task.

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5 comments… add one
  • giuseppe Apr 8, 2009 @ 12:53

    Kevin was quite right.The challenges of writing outside USA.I have tried to expose my ideas on a messageboard the best I could get,was a direct assault at my book “guilty” to blame Robert Lee for the Confederate defeat at Gettysburg.If I can be given the opportunity I will give you more details about the over-romanticized vision of the Civil War in my country.

  • Giuseppe Rufino Jan 20, 2009 @ 6:56

    None at all,just a good relation,Carlo Alberto king of Savoy died in Lisboa in exile,same thing happened to Umberto II king of Italy

  • tf smith Jan 19, 2009 @ 18:21

    Exactly – can I ask why the Re d’Italia’s sistership was named Re di Portigallo? Was there a dynastic connection between the two kingdoms?

  • Giuseppe Rufino Jan 16, 2009 @ 13:24

    One of these Ironclads was renamed “Re d’Italia” and was sunk during the battle of Lissa(1866) against the Austrian fleet

  • TF Smith Jan 16, 2009 @ 9:27

    I think there have been some studies of Italians and Italian-Americans in the Civil, from the Garibaldi Guard on up…Grazi to Signore Rufino.

    Interestingly enough, two of the three largest ocean-going ironclads buult in the US during the Civil War were for the Italian navy.

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