Review of "Confronting America: The Cold War between the United States and the Communists in France and Italy" by Alessandro Brogi

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Book Review

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Choice Reviews Online




Brogi (Univ. of Arkansas) masterfully examines US efforts to counter influence of the French and Italian communist parties throughout the Cold War. He approaches this key facet of the US-European alliance from all sides, using economic, cultural, intellectual, and other perspectives. To combat communist influence in France and Italy, the US used diplomacy while countering anti-Americanism to undermine communist appeal in both countries. The mere existence of Soviet-supported communist parties in the heart of Europe threatened US influence in this central stage of the Cold War, particularly in France, where anti-Americanism was especially strong. In both France and Italy, communists had to balance the bidding of the Soviet Union with advancing their own social and nationalist agendas to remain politically relevant. Most interestingly, Brogi convincingly argues that broader political backlash against US efforts to weaken the influence of the French and Italian communist parties forced the US to reassess its Cold War policies and assumptions. Ultimately, the French and Italian communist parties failed to adapt to modernization epitomized by the US postwar experience, nor could they reconcile their Soviet-mandated communist message with political, economic, and cultural realities in their own countries.