The Second World War wreaked unprecedented devastation throughout Europe, necessitating monumental reconstruction efforts that burdened not only governments, but the lives of ordinary citizens. War, Massacre, and Recovery in Central Italy, 1943-1948 examines this transitional period in the province of Arezzo by detailing the daily experiences of civilians through the traumas of war and the difficulties of recovery. Studying the aftermath of war in a new and insightful way, Victoria C. Belco shifts the perspective from the national to the local level. With this localized focus, she provides valuable insight into the ways in which civilians coped with an overwhelming range of problems - from adjusting to Allied occupation and widespread displacement to rampant unemployment and the restructuring of local administrations and institutions after fascism. Recreating the post-war atmosphere of disorder, need, and political upheaval, Belco shows how the competing community interests caused social fragmentations that impeded change, while the unity of a shared past prevented civil war.
Victoria C. Belco is an assistant professor in the Department of History at Portland State University.