Arguably there are not many works In English covering this important era; some although worthy are also very academic and so for readers not involved in study or research a bit of a trial to get through. Once again Osprey comes to our aid with this addition to their Essential History series. Although this concentrates upon the war between Piedmont and Austria which Napoleon III of France saw advantageous to become involved in, this book proves its worth by providing an overall historical and geo-political background, a summary of the Risorgimento 1815-1849 and a concise clear account of the political manoeuvres both in and outside of the Italian peninsula in the years preceding 1859. In the description and narration of the events of 1859 this book and that of Osprey’s Campaign volume Solferino 1859 dovetail. Whereas there is there is some general duplication in the description of the battles of Magenta and Solferino each volume compliments the other in covering aspects not in the companion’s remit. This volume has a number of exceptional reproductions of the contemporary prints, photographs and paintings of events and characters and good maps of the important military engagements. It then covers the period following France’s withdrawal involving Piedmont’s campaigns against Naples and the Papal States and Garabaldi’s invasion and subsequent campaign in Scilly. There is an overview of the aftermath and an interesting chapter on how the events in Italy could have led to a wider European war The book concludes with brief accounts of firstly of an unsuccessful Italian intervention in the 1866 war between Austria and Prussian and a more profitable one during the Franco Prussian of 1870 which added Papal Rome to the Italian state and then an overview of the entire Italian reunification processes in the 19th Century. In particular this book educates the reader into just how much a part was played by the various Italian states as independent nations and not simply allies of Austria and France All contained neatly in 91 pages. Recommended from those collecting Osprey’s more historical works or those interested in the military history of the 19th Century.
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