Contributions for this issue were received from Gianni Bonvicini, Alessandro Capocaccia, Sofia Chiarucci, Silvia Colombo, Simone Mecca, Adriano Metz, Eva Pföstl, Sebastiano Sali and Stefano Silvestri.
The European Neighbourhood Policy and the Southern Mediterranean / Michele Comelli, Atila Eralp, Çigdem Üstün (eds). - Ankara : Middle East Technical University Press, 2009. - xiv, 181 p. - ISBN 978-9944-344-79-1
The countries of the southern shore of the Mediterranean are increasingly critical of the set of policies that the EU has devised and has been implementing towards them since the early 1990s. This criticism, together with recent and not necessarily positive political and economic developments in the region, have spurred a much required reflection on the EU Neighbourhood Policy in order to assess its flaws and potential in the new international context. The book aims at meeting this need by studying the inter-relationship of EU deepening and widening in the context of EU-Mediterranean relations and by exploring expectations on both sides.
The rationale of the book is "to analyse the Southern dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) which, as frequently noted in academic and policy debates, presents different challenges and opportunities than the Eastern dimension" (157). The book is composed of seven chapters which correspond to as many contributions, plus an introduction and some concluding remarks. It sheds light on the specific content and evolution of the ENP towards the Southern Mediterranean countries in a way that is easily accessible to all kinds of readers. It does this by focusing on the perceptions of Europe's Mediterranean partners and, in particular, on three case studies (Algeria, Egypt and Israel). Additional analysis is provided for the cases of Morocco and Jordan in the interesting cost/benefit assessment of the ENP's potential for reform in the southern Mediterranean in the political, economic and social arenas (53-77).
The analysis moves easily through the intricacies of the linkages between enlargement and the ENP's Southern Mediterranean dimension in view of filling a gap in the literature. In fact, "while there are myriad studies that enquire into the lessons that the ENP towards Eastern partners can draw from enlargement, very little has been analysed regarding the lessons that the ENP towards Southern partners can draw from enlargement, and even less about the role that Turkey can play in this triangle" (157). This aspect represents a significant value-added with respect to the many other studies on the subject. Placing Turkey at the centre of the debate on enlargement and the ENP is particularly interesting at a time when Turkey is increasingly playing a central role in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
What is striking is the absolute homogeneity and sometimes repetitiveness of views and evaluations that emerge from the different sections of the book. On the one hand, this reinforces the book's main arguments, for example, that countries in the various Mediterranean regions tend to share perceptions and preoccupations with regard to the ENP. On the other, however, it hampers the book's cohesion of structure. Additionally, analysis oscillates between the academic and the operational. All in all, the book aptly underscores the shortcomings of the ENP in the Southern Mediterranean and draws some relevant policy-oriented conclusions - albeit scattered in its various sections - providing a useful tool for scholars, EU decision-makers and officials. (Silvia Colombo, also in Italian)
L'idea dell'Europa nelle relazioni internazionali / Silvio Fagiolo . - Milano : F. Angeli, c2009. - 250 p. - (Il punto ; 70). - ISBN 978-88-568-0343-3
It is not very often that a thorough analysis of the European integration process turns into a vivid overview of contemporary history. Furthermore, the story of Europe from Chabod onwards has been told so many times that it is difficult to deal with it in an original way. Yet, Fagiolo manages to do so by setting the extraordinary European adventure in the framework of the international events that either positively, or more frequently negatively, conditioned the integration process and determined its further development: from the end of the Second World War to the rash French-British expedition to the Suez in 1956; from the emergence of the flexible response doctrine to the first disarmament negotiations with Moscow; from the beginning of the Cold War to the fall of the Berlin Wall.
More specifically, the author spends a lot of time looking at US policies and initiatives towards Europe. This emphasis on Washington's role serves two purposes: on the one hand, it puts the transatlantic dimension into the right perspective as the key factor in explaining the European Union's progress or lack of it in the economic, political and above all military fields; on the other, it uses the US federal model as a historical and institutional reference point to measure the federative nature of the European integration process. And it becomes evident from the very first pages that, in spite of the Union's progress in these last fifty or more years of institution building, it still has a long way to go to match the reference model and very probably never will.
Silvio Fagiolo considers the failure of the European Defense Community in 1954 the negative turning point for Europe's ambitions to proceed towards an American model of federation: "the EDC's failure showed that the Europeans are not willing to lose that fragment of military sovereignty in their reciprocal relations that they still possessed after the end of the second world war".
It is interesting to note that the author considers the lack of a European military dimension the fundamental difference between the United States and Europe. Despite the steps taken by the EU in this field in the last decade, including the most recent decisions to set up battlegroups (although they have never been deployed) and to launch over twenty civilian and military missions in the world, there can be no doubt, as the author puts it: "that Europe does not have that unscrupulous military capability that the United States has".
Once again, the fundamental difference between European and American history emerges: for the latter, "the strategic matrix … is the civil war, the rejection of proportionality in the fight for survival: war is hell". And since this is not and never will be the case in Europe, the European Union is, to use Jeremy Rifkin's definition, a kind of early United States with confederal characteristics, the heir to an America that disappeared years ago - "The alternative dream," says Fagiolo, "for those who have stopped dreaming about America."
In other words, the "American model" is fading away and is being replaced by a Union that has never had the courage to go beyond the limits of a "reinforced" confederation. The thesis, as put forward by someone who has experienced Europe's difficult history as an insider, is interesting and brave. It should not be forgotten, as Mario Monti points out in the introduction, that Silvio Fagiolo is above all an ambassador who had the privilege of participating first hand in most of the negotiations that contributed, from the European Single Act onwards, to the deepening of the European Union's institutional architecture. This is also why Fagiolo praises and recalls with admiration Roberto Ducci's "anonymous and unseen but fundamental work of negotiating and drafting the successive drafts of the initial pact (the Treaty of Rome): not [one of] the makers of European policy, but [a] craftsm[a]n who behind the scenes laid the premises and built the scaffolding". (Gianni Bonvicini, also in Italian)
The European Union and global governance / edited by Mario Telò. - London and New York : Routledge, 2009. - xx, 353 p. - (Routledge/GARNET series: Europe in the world ; 6). - ISBN 978-0-415-46506-9 ; 978-0-203-88366-2 (ebk)
The book is a collection of essays that explore the role of the EU as a global actor, concerning both regional cooperation and global governance. Two points of view are adopted: the influence of the EU on the rest of the world, that is its impact on the multilateral international setting; and its impact on regional governance, as a model of a two-level polity (the national and EU dimensions). The EU, the product of the consolidation of supranational and intergovernmental institutions, is assessed for its internal successes and failures and its positive and negative influences externally. The contributors explore the consequences of the EU as a multi-level and multi-actor power and as a regional and global actor. The book is divided into three parts: the EU's external impact on global governance, EU external policies and the EU agenda.
The first section addresses the EU's ability to export its model, influencing the rest of the world with its democratic governance, both as far as relations within states and between states are concerned. The issue is whether the EU can be an effective international "democratizer". To answer this question, the contributors focus on the common currency, the common market and EU socio-economic model. Notwithstanding asymmetries, failures and pending challenges, the success of these internal achievements has had an influence on the EU's near (regional) and distant (global) external environment.
The second part of the book looks at the complex legal foundations of EU external action, underlining how the role played in the international arena is in part exclusive to the EU and in part shared with member states. It stresses the lack of coherence due to the different fields of EU action developed to some extent within the European Community context and to some extent within the common security and foreign policy. The contributors critically assess a variety of EU external policies, namely trade - the most centralised and consolidated - cooperation, the environment, common foreign and security policy, justice and home affairs.
Part three examines the EU's role as a global actor, dealing in particular with neighbourhood policies. It focuses on the complexities the EU has to face with regard to its regional dimension in the Mediterranean versus its inter-regional role vis-à-vis partners overseas. The authors analyse the effectiveness of EU policies, their successes and failures, and their contribution in the global context, assessing the EU as a political actor. Regional and inter-regional cooperation policies are reviewed in a historical perspective that takes account of national colonial policies and EU legacies.
The book offers several considerations on the regional consequences of the European process of unification and its spillovers on the global scale. The book's main thread is the question whether the EU can represent a model for regional governance and whether its policies can be applied at the international level. Far from finding a conclusive answer, the book provides different visions of the future of the interstate system and the challenges to the EU's role in global governance. (Sofia Chiarucci)
Greater Middle East
Nel nome di Omar : rivoluzione, clero e potere in Iran / Marcella Emiliani, Marco Ranuzzi de' Bianchi, Erika Atzori. - Bologna : Odoya, c2008. - 351 p. - (Odoya Storia ; 1). - ISBN 978-88-628-8000-8
Understanding the stages that marked Iranian society's path to the 1979 revolution - a unique revolution led by a religious group - represents one of the best means to understand Iran and its regime today. This understanding is especially relevant now when, for the first time, a non-religiously affiliated person has been confirmed as the president.
Nel nome di Omar develops this analysis by delving deeply and broadly into the historical causes that brought the Iranian religious establishment to engage in domestic politics and progressively become, through the years, the leader of the revolution and, later, of the state.
The authors boast a good mix of knowledge and experience which allows them to cover all aspects of the issue. Marcella Emiliani is a prominent professor at Bologna University, with a high-profile academic career and much experience in research on Iran and the Middle East in general. Marco Ranuzzi de' Bianchi and Erika Atzori contributed to the work with their recent field work, making the more academic, historical first part of the book more topical and reader-friendly.
The book is divided into three parts which deal with three different time periods: from the clergy evolution that led to the revolution up to the death of its leader; the revolutionary system without Khomeini and the difficulties in its management before Ahmadinejad; and Ahmadinejad's Iran divided between the clergy and the army.
Emiliani's first part presents the roots of the Iranian clergy's first engagement in politics with the Tobacco Riots in 1891-92. From there the book proceeds with a careful and vivid historical analysis of how the feeling of a discontent towards the Shah spread throughout the country - a country which, as Emiliani clearly explains, united itself in all its part, nationalists and communists, around the leadership of the Shiite clergy to express its rage against the regime of the monarchy. A path that only towards the end became an Islamic revolution and that can be defined as "a process of reactions, with different scales of consciousness, against the chaotic forced modernisation process imposed on Iran".
Ranuzzi de' Bianchi's second part is a very detailed and precise analysis of the new Islamic Republic's structure and functioning. Very interesting is the clear account of how, after Khomeini's death, the Shiite establishment split into factions and fought for the presidency. In this situation, the most important reforms that the country needed were not carried out, provoking the reaction of the intellectuals.
Atzori's third part takes us up to the current situation, presenting the presidency of Ahmadinejad. The analysis of the electoral process that brought Ahmadinejad to the presidency reveals an interesting behind-the-scenes view of the different Iranian political fronts. The in-depth profile of the previous government is very useful in understanding the major domestic and foreign policy issues that face modern Iran. All of this prepares us for the description of the political background of the 2009 elections.
Emiliani suggests that in Iran everything seems to be transformed but not destroyed. The book leaves one wondering whether the recent 2009 elections continued the historical clash of factions that has permeated recent Iranian political history or whether things might change. (Sebastiano Sali)
La strada per Kabul : la comunità internazionale e le crisi in Asia centrale / Alessandro Minuto Rizzo. - Bologna : Il mulino, c2009. - 183 p. - (Collana AREL/il Mulino ; 67). - ISBN 978-88-15-12736-5
The author of this book was the Vice Secretary General of NATO from 2001 to 2007. During his term, he interpreted the role with remarkable political and diplomatic initiative, accompanying and at times anticipating NATO's progressive deployment out of an area, from the Gulf to Afghanistan.
From his intense work with NATO, the author draws a brief essay dealing with his trips and his impressions, especially in Central Asia. The account never loses its sense of proportion nor of the ridiculous which is somehow always hidden behind the tragic.
The author begins by recalling how the European press enthusiastically reported the wanderings of a brown bear through the mountains of Switzerland, Austria and Bavaria, its matings and its destiny, at the very time when the most serious terrorist attacks were shaking Afghanistan and Pakistan, the site of a power struggle of global dimensions. Minuto Rizzo tries to cut through Maya's veil, delicately, almost by osmosis, to transport us softly into another, little known but not for this reason strange or, much less, irrelevant reality - a reality in which he is helped by such great authors of the past as Byron with his The Road to Oxana and of course Kipling, but also by other less universally known authors. This erudite and sophisticated view facilitates flashes of comprehension of a world that is difficult for and in many respects still unknown to most people and in many ways even to NATO. It is quite beyond the author's intention to criticize the Alliance, but the author's delicacy in presenting the subject matter cannot completely hide the surprise of someone who saw the Alliance engage in Afghanistan without really knowing how and why. Only in 2006, with the strategic decision to expand its presence in the south and the east of the country, did NATO enter directly into war with the Taliban and take on the burden of fighting the drug industry, once again without correctly and fully assessing the consequences.
Minuto Rizzo describes a confused and progressive "bogging down", which has not been followed up, perhaps because of the allies' lack of full political awareness of it, by deployment of the necessary military and economic resources and a coherent strategic approach (this includes the operations conducted autonomously by the Pentagon with the forces of Enduring Freedom, which have always been kept distinct from NATO forces).
But the book goes beyond this to tell of the Alliance's increasing diplomatic relations in Asia and the Pacific, from Mongolia to Japan, from Australia to New Zealand. It also goes into the increasing importance of Pakistan and, therefore, India and the dispute over Kashmir. Minuto Rizzo is not a pessimist, nor does he underestimate the important steps that have been taken, in spite of all the difficulties, in Afghanistan. Nevertheless, he would like to see more awareness especially on the part of the Europeans. His professional "envy" for Ahmet Cetin, the Turkish ambassador and former foreign minister who was NATO's political representative in Kabul and then Turkish ambassador in Islamabad, is almost tangible. He seems to envy Cetin's evident understanding of the local leaderships and their rules, and his connections in almost all directions. This, Rizzo observes, is a result of the constant and growing attention that Turkey has for Central Asia, in addition of course to its greater historical, cultural and religious affinities.
There may be a suggestion in all this. In the future, in order to exit positively from a crisis and continue to proceed effectively along the road to greater global governance, it would be useful to understand better the situations and the countries, the cultures and the ambitions of the people. Colonialism is dead and buried and it is no longer acceptable to face tomorrow with the same bag of errors as in the past. (Stefano Silvestri, also in Italian)
Geopolitica dell'ambiente : sostenibilità, conflitti e cambiamenti globali / Corrado Maria Daclon. - Milano : F. Angeli, c2008. - 255 p. - (Uomo, ambiente, sviluppo. Saggi e manuali ; 37). - ISBN 978-88-464-9795-6
Although the term geopolitics has recently experienced a resurgence in academic circles, the literature debate in continental Europe has gradually dismissed the original focus on the theoretical link between policy and environment, moving towards a simpler realist understanding of the zero-sum game aimed at securing the control of resources. In contrast with this trend, Corrado Maria Daclon's book provides a well-structured review dealing with the nuanced nature of the geopolitical debate, emphasizing the role of the environment in security issues, international law and scenario construction. Indeed, international organisations and security scholars are progressively transcending the global level of analysis to focus more in depth on the local level, where geopolitical links emerge and the concept of distance acquires significance.
In the first chapter, the author touches upon several academic lines of thought: from the early conceptual steps of the term "geopolitics", to the deterministic definition by Ratzel and Haushofer, characterised by an ideological meaning, and from the Anglo-Saxon theories of Mahan and Mackinder - based on the strategic interpretation of maps - to the domino theory put forth during the Cold War. For several decades, these classical geopolitical theories have fascinated readers thanks to their aesthetic impact, rather than their scientific value.
From chapter two onwards, the author systematically analyses the causal influence of the environment on social actions, providing an explanatory framework for demography, migrations and the factors underlying them, such as desertification in Africa. The two following sections encompass a sociological and historical study dealing with the concept of resources, in accordance with a special focus on strategic energy needs, from wood to uranium, with oil playing a significant role because of its multiple industrial uses and the consequent political leverage it gives to exporting countries.
The fifth chapter deals with environmental policy. After listing actors and international organisations involved in the field, Daclon analyses - one by one - the actions undertaken by the US and the EU, The author also analyses the most significant phases of the sustainable development effort, from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) to the Montreal Conference in 2005. Statistical evidence is provided to illustrate how contemporary conflicts are influenced by environmental variables, as shown by the "NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme", and to point out that the current resource distribution and migration dynamics are framing a new context for security, not only at the European but also at the global level. Indeed, European governments will have to face an increasing number of problems due to welfare and employment unbalances, while the pivotal area globally for the environmental question is situated in Central Asia. In Central Asia the Chinese demand for energy and the Russian supply meet in a complex political environment, increasingly impacted by the military presence of the US.
The sustainable development question is assessed in the last chapter. Here the author evaluates the competing schools of thought from Malthus and Reclus to Gore, whose efforts to improve environmental awareness have brought the issue to international attention.
Overall, this book sheds light on the increasing role played by environmental politics in international security and it provides a multidisciplinary guide, combining legal aspects, sociological descriptions, scientific forecasts and scenario constructions. However, because of its synoptic and overarching academic nature, the work's analytical depth is limited by the intrinsic breadth of the issue itself and should therefore be conceived as an initial step towards further research. (Simone Mecca)
La partita eurasiatica : geopolitica della sicurezza tra Occidente e Russia / Cristiano Orlando. - Roma : Ediesse, 2009. - 147 p. - (Materiali). - 978-88-230-1351-3
The East-West axis has been the subject of many recent studies and analyses. The issues of energy security, the future of NATO and the unquestioned role that China is increasingly playing as a global actor are without a doubt linked to the strategies revolving around the large area that delimits the Russian borders. The end of the short-lived idea of US hegemony and the simultaneous Russian recovery after the post-Soviet crisis has created the conditions for a scenario defined by some observers as a renewed Cold War. Others have instead dismissed Moscow's actions as feeble shows of strength conducted by a somewhat unstable country.
To understand these dynamics, Cristiano Orlando's book proves extremely useful. Indeed, it provides a comprehensive view of the players involved, their present geopolitical condition and their prospects for the future. The persisting transformation of internal and external balances that Europe and Russia have been experiencing since the end of the Cold War are described well in the first chapter, where the author outlines their recent history and their present conditions. Nor does he overlook the two traits d'union that bind them, the Balkans and Eastern Europe, whose importance as a passageway for energy routes is obviously underlined. Particular attention is given to the progress made in the European integration process and to the Western-driven dynamics in those countries once under Soviet influence.
The "Euro-Atlantic dimension" is the subject of the second, and central, section of the volume. NATO's role is challenged more than ever by its own transformation and its future ability to ensure the coexistence of the eastward expansion and its relationship with the former Russian arch-enemy. The book offers an overview of all the major modernisations undergone by the Alliance in the last two decades, contextualising them into the larger scenario composed of border areas and countries, often disputed by the two blocs.
The border areas and countries are the main subjects of the third and final chapter which illustrates what stakes are in play, mainly focusing again on energy sources and routes. Thus, Ukraine is described as the door by which Russian resources can reach Europe, and the Caucasus (with Georgia as the key factor), the threshold for the pipelines coming from Central Asia.
A specialist on the subject would probably not find much more in this book than he already knows, but someone who has never approached this multi-faceted theatre will probably find Orlando's book an agile compendium that provides an in-depth analysis on the thin thread binding the US, Europe and Russia together - a thread that criss-crosses disputed countries and areas such as the Balkans, the internally divided Ukraine and the war-torn Caucasus, the strategic importance of which has to be understood.
The book's structure makes it easy to lose the train of thought and, thus, the overall picture. Nonetheless, considering the enormous number of variables and factors involved, this 140-page volume provides enough data and maps (though the latter could have been of better quality) to provide a fairly inclusive introduction to this complex topic. (Alessandro Capocaccia)
L'elefante ha messo le ali : l'India del XXI secolo / Antonio Armellini ; prefazione di Giuliano Amato. - Milano : Egea - Università Bocconi editore, 2008. - x, 397 p. - (Interazioni). - ISBN 978-88-8350-087-9
In this book, the author, the Italian ambassador in Delhi from 2004 to 2008 and former coworker of Altiero Spinelli and Aldo Moro, tries to explain why India is a "good bet".
The contradictions that characterise the Indian Union and that are often incomprehensible for a non-Indian, are not the result of either fate or chaos, but are rather an expression of the coexistence of a past that has not been left behind and a future which is just unfolding. From a political point of view, the Indian democracy is unique, quite different from the European model. In spite of its numerous contradictions, the real miracle is that India is the largest experiment of a functioning democracy in the world.
In Armellini's opinion, the apex of Indian contradictions lies in the discrepancy between the cities and the countryside, and above all, the castes. The caste system is, on the one hand, the ultimate expression of odious and immobile discrimination, but at the same time, even though this is officially denied, it is an instrument of social equilibrium and political stability. With universal suffrage and the creation of elected bodies at the local level, the castes have become the strongest political pressure groups. The paradox is that representative democracy, the ultimate expression of Indian modernity, has given new impulse to the castes, the greatest sign of discrimination and anti-modernity.
Analysing the instruments for the formation of consensus - from the media to NGOs, from political parties to civil rights and women's rights movements - the author touches on the thorny problem of tolerance. The question is: how will India manage to govern the compatibility between a market logic and the very idea of democracy that should give breathing room to profoundly different ethnic and cultural groups.
Armellini reinterprets the Indian concept of "karma", which no doubt contributes to explaining the great optimism with which India is expecting to be a great power player, especially in economic and international relations. Alternatively, it can also be considered the basis for a kind of arrogance that is sweeping over the country. An arrogance, as Armellini writes, which more than any other factor risks falsifying the decision-making processes and the very ability to assess one's capabilities non-dogmatically. This is the same arrogance that kept the country in difficult relations with its neighbours, especially at the regional level, for a long time and which prevented it from understanding that a regional policy attentive to the needs of the others and without hegemonic leanings is not an alternative policy, but the premise for taking on the role of major actor at the world level. Arrogance is probably also at the root of the scarce flexibility with which India entered into the negotiations for reform of the United Nations Security Council and which held up the achievement of a cooperation agreement with the United States on civilian nuclear power for a long time. It also conditions the country's behaviour on the Kashmir question, perhaps the most important from a political-strategic point of view.
The book describes a society that is not growing homogeneously and that seems unable to come to terms with its contradictions. This contradiction is that India has an arrogant view of itself that can only be mitigated by recognition of the importance of its international role. The book also describes a fragile economy that is being rebalanced, an inefficient and corrupt bureaucracy, a judiciary that does not effectively enforce the rule of law with a civil society that is only just starting to become aware of the problem.
The book is clear and useful to both the layman and the specialist. To point out some shortcomings, however, the issue of the relationship between the caste system and social stability, while presented in a brilliant and provocative way, may not be adequately justified. Wanting to take this line of reasoning to its extreme conclusion, one might say that the mafia has also played the role of stabilizer in Italian society. But this is certainly not sufficient reason to believe that these forms of stabilisation are good or, much less, necessary. (Eva Pföstl, also in Italian)
Il paese di Obama : come è cambiata l'America / Maurizio Molinari. - Roma ; Bari : Laterza, 2009. - xv, 195 p. (I Robinson. Letture). - ISBN 978-88-420-9104-2
Good morning America / Gerardo Greco. - Milano : Sperling & Kupfer, . - 213 p. - (Saggi). - ISBN 978-88-200-4708-5
Barack Obama : l'uomo del destino / Franco Ferraro. - [S.l.] : ilmiolibro.it, 2008 (Roma : Gruppo editoriale L'espresso). - 160 p.
Three books compared: a little over a year after Barack Obama's inauguration as president of the United States, it has become fashionable to write about the first black man in the White House and "his" America - books that reflect, albeit in different ways, all the many expectations roused by the irresistible rise of the senator from Illinois and that do not reflect President Obama's drop in popularity at home (but not in Europe).
The authors are all journalists who, like correspondents, tell Italians about Obama's United States and therefore are well acquainted with the American continent and the Obama "phenomenon". In the titles and the texts we find the surprise and the enthusiasm of the presidential campaign and the expectations and hopes for the election and the inauguration, rather than for the difficulties and problems of the first year in the White House, looking for ways out of the economic crisis and trying to find the right path to peace or at least dialogue on such international fronts as Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran and the Middle East.
Until now, President Obama has not had the same success as candidate Obama: he still has not convinced his fellow Americans to fully agree to a health care reform; he has not won the war for the "hearts and minds" of the Afghans; he has not been able to involve Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad in dialogue; nor has he unblocked the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. But the President, like the candidate, remains a symbol of hope, personifying the American dream.
The fact that he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize means that the world still has confidence in him. Maurizio Molinari tells how the United States changed (Com'è cambiata l'America) with the advent of Obama. "In one night," he writes, "we went from George W. Bush to Barack H. Obama and the world appeared different". The book's eleven chapters take us on a trip to see the places and meet the people that are building that new American dream, which is to some extent also our new dream.
Molinari, US correspondent for La Stampa since 2001, is a prolific author (since 2003 he has published an average of one book per year) and an attentive and active journalist. In the United States, he has interviewed great economic and political leaders, told the story of life and politics in the White House and the places of power in Washington, the Hurricane Katrina disaster, the Wall Street crisis and the last election campaign.
Gerardo Greco describes his book as a "trip to discover the tracks of the new American dream". The author, long the RAI 2 News correspondent from New York, has written about Afghanistan and Iraq, the Bush presidency and Obama's rise. Greco explains his book with the following words: "After finding my grandfather's papers and letters, I decided to follow the tracks of my predecessors. I wanted an American story to tell and, above all, I wanted to understand whether the American dream still exists. Barack Obama said that the United States has to recapture that dream and I wanted to find out what it consists of."
The book by Franco Ferraro is centred more on the figure of Obama and the campaign that brought him to the White House. Ferraro, the editor in chief of Sky News and author of the weekly Seven international news magazine, was in the United States as a correspondent to follow the Illinois senator's campaign and managed the live broadcasts of the decisive debates with Republican candidate John McCain.
The book is the story of Obama, but above all it is the story of the 600 days between the announcement of his candidacy for nomination in Springfield, Illinois, on 10 February 2007, and his victory in the presidential election on 4 November 2008: "600 days in which," writes Ferraro, "Obama, born in 1961 in Honolulu of a Kenyan father and a white American mother, sweeps away all forecasts and prejudices, silences the Cassandras and gurus and travels alone towards Pennsylvania Avenue." (Adriano Metz, also in Italian)