Author Archives : Richard Drake


Italy’s Populist Earthquake

“We have the sensation of being on the eve of an earthquake,” Corriere della Sera economics writer Dario Di Vico observed on the day of Italy’s elections in early March. The results would show that some 65 percent of the electorate was opposed to the political status quo represented chiefly by the center-left Partito Democratico of Matteo […]


George-Scialabba

George Scialabba’s “Last Men and Women” Seminar at the University of Montana

George Scialabba spoke in the President’s Lecture Series at the University of Montana on Monday, 12 March. He gave this year’s Ezio Cappadocia Memorial Lecture in Politics and History in the series. An essayist and critic, Scialabba has a highly unusual background for an American intellectual. As a high school student and then at Harvard […]


Left-Wing Populism Meets ‘La Grande Crisi’: Making Sense of Italy’s Five-Star Movement

If China, now the factory of the world, has been the biggest winner in the globalized economy, Italy has been one of its biggest losers. The Italian economy has suffered from low growth and rising levels of income inequality for the past twenty years. The global economic meltdown of 2008 made Italy’s already bad situation worse. As economics writer Dario Di Vico observes in his analysis of growing income inequality in Italy, “We risk entering a lasting regime of descending mobility: the [social] elevator is going down instead of ascending….”

Beppe Grillo

Review: GIOVANNI MARIO CECI. Il terrorismo italiano: Storia di un dibattito.

Review of GIOVANNI MARIO CECI. Il terrorismo italiano: Storia di un dibattito. Giovanni Mario Ceci. Il terrorismo italiano: Storia di un dibattito. (Studi Storici Carocci, no. 199.) Rome, Italy: Carocci editore, 2013. Pp. 342. €35.00. By Richard Drake The American Historical Review, Volume 122, Issue 5, 1 December 2017, Pages 1699–1700, https://doi.org/10.1093/ahr/122.5.1699 Published: 11 December […]


Why Every European Country Has a Trump or Sanders Candidate 1

The following article first appeared on The American Conservative on August 28, 2017. The suicide in the Friuli region of northern Italy earlier this year of a 30-year-old man, identified in the newspapers only as Michele, has become a symbol of the country’s unemployment tragedy, particularly as it affects young people. Though much worse in […]


“Italy’s Next Crisis Could Be Its Worst” from The American Conservative

The following article first appeared on The American Conservative on June 6, 2017.   Italy’s Next Crisis Could Be Its Worst Anarchist violence and Muslim extremism might produce a near-failed state.   Italy is not Greece. The latter is technically a failed state because of its overwhelming public and private indebtedness. But Italy is in […]


Historical Lessons for Our Time: Italy’s Response to the Challenge of Terrorism

From Tiempo devorado, Vol. 3, No 1 (2016): Bales per vots. Activisme i violència política a Europa des de 1991   ABSTRACT During the so-called years of lead, Italy had the highest rate of terrorist violence in the industrialized world. Terrorist groups, descending ideologically from the country’s Marxist­ Leninist and neofascist traditions, sought to destroy its democratic […]


Reflections on the 100th Anniversary of the Sykes-Picot Agreement

Monday marks 100 years since the Sykes-Picot agreement between Britain and France. With the then-secret agreement, they planned to divide up much of the Mideast between them at the end of World War I, which was still going on at the time. This post was the result of an interview conducted by accuracy.org, an independent media […]


Letter to the Editor of The Journal of American History

The following Letter to the Editor appeared in the March 2016 102 (4) issue of the Journal of American History.   To the Editor: “Interchange: World War I,” the online discussion in the September 2015 issue (pp. 463–99), raised many important points about the American experience in that conflict. The reasons given for American intervention in the […]

Journal of American History, March 2016 cover

The Greatest Speech in the History of the United States Senate and Its Meaning for Today

(Note: The following article first appeared on The Daily Call, February 23, 2016.) By Richard Drake Special to the Daily Call On 4 April 1917, Senator Robert La Follette of Wisconsin rose in the Senate to speak in opposition to Woodrow Wilson’s call for war against Germany, a message delivered by the President to a joint […]


Plundering Latin America Yesterday and Today 2

In his classic Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, originally published in Spanish in 1971, Eduardo Galeano begins with an image of “those remote times when Renaissance Europeans ventured across the ocean and buried their teeth in the throat of the Indian civilizations.” Some fifty pages into his […]


Reflections on Harvey Mansfield’s “Science and the Humanities in America’s Universities,” a Lecture at the University of Montana, President’s Lecture Series, 1 May 2015

Prior to sending invitations for the President’s Lecture Series, I do background checks on prospective speakers. As the coordinator of the series, I want to know about the quality of a speaker’s ideas and capacity to address a town-gown audience. The most interesting discovery that turned up about Harvey Mansfield during my background check of […]