Maria Grazia Meriggi and Xavier Vigna analyze two important books recently published by Castelvecchi, Storia del lavoro in Italia. Il Novecento, both edited by Stefano Musso. The first volume, Il Novecento. 1896-1945 Il lavoro nell’età industriale, is defined by Meriggi as the result of a long series of studies carried out by a generation who came of age during the 1980s and 1990s. In her analysis of the first volume, Meriggi places the essays in the context of a rich Italian historiography on the history of labor, the working class and workers’ movements, and argues that the book is rather unique in contemporary European historiography. In reviewing the second volume, Il Novecento. 1945-2000. La ricostruzione, il miracolo economico, la globalizzazione, Vigna points out how the categories used in the subtitle suggest new research venues, rather than simply offering a chronological point of reference. Through a detailed analysis, he highlights the challenges faced by historians seeking to write a history of labor that focuses on practices, on the relationship between the national and the local, on the deconstruction of traditional narratives. In conclusion, Vigna considers this book as a landmark in historical studies about labor.
Keywords: Labor history, Working-class movement, Fascist Italy, Liberal Italy, Republican Italy, Historiography