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Garibaldi’s Defence of the Roman Republic

By G M Trevelyan

Giuseppe Garibaldi, hero of the Italian Risorgimento, is one of history’s greatest, most charismatic leaders.

This is the first instalment of British historian GM Trevelyan’s epic, three volume account of his life. The author tracks Garibaldi’s early activities in pre-Risorgimento Italy, which led to his exile, and then to his dramatic career as a revolutionary in South America. In Brazil he joined the rebels known as the Ragamuffins and met his wife, Ana Maria Ribeiro da Silva, commonly known as Anita. He returned with her to Italy and there led the great and daring defence of the Roman Republic against the French.

George Macaulay Trevelyan is a historian of great fame, and is credited with inventing a more accessible, literary form of history authorship. He writes with great eloquence of the landscape of Italy, and the atmosphere of these great events. The Garibaldi Trilogy is considered GM Trevelyan’s finest work and was the first study of the Italian Risorgimento in the English language. Published in 1907, the first volume, Garibaldi’s Defence of the Roman Republic, is a classic of history — a story of romance, tragedy and heroism, brilliantly told.

‘Very few of the books which are classified as historical novels are half as exciting’ – Manchester Guardian

‘The whole character of the campaign is illustrated for us by Mr Trevelyan’s power of making even the lesser actors in it seem alive and real, and by vivid descriptions of the scenes in which the story is laid, painted by one who has himself followed with observant eyes the tracks of Garibaldi’s advance. History thus written will appeal to the general reader as well as to the historian’
– Times Literary Supplement

Trevelyan’s great work was his Garibaldi Trilogy, which established his reputation as the outstanding literary historian of his generation. It depicted Garibaldi as a Carlylean hero – poet, patriot, and man of action – whose inspired leadership created the Italian nation. For Trevelyan, Garibaldi was the champion of freedom, progress, and tolerance, who vanquished the despotism, reaction, and obscurantism of the Austrian empire and the Neapolitan monarchy. The books were also notable for their vivid evocation of landscape, for their innovative use of documentary and oral sources, and for their spirited accounts of battles and military campaigns’
historian David Cannadine, from his GM Trevelyan: A Life in History

‘What is perhaps most frequently forgotten, or ignored, is the skill of his literary craftsmanship. Trevelyan was a born writer and a natural storyteller; and this, among historians, is a rare gift’
historian JH Plumb

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