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Piero Gobetti (1901-1926) was one of twentieth-century Italy's most innovative political thinkers. A noted intellectual, radical liberal, and antifascist, in his short life he founded two cultural reviews that attracted the attention of many Italian intellectuals of the time, including Benedetto Croce and Giovanni Gentile. However, Gobetti and his editorial activities also quickly drew the attention of the fascist regime, resulting in the banning of his publications, and in his persecution, physical beating, and premature death in exile.
Piero Gobetti's New World is an introduction to Gobetti's thought on the intellectual's role in Italian cultural renewal. It is also an in-depth study of the three main questions on which his writings focus: the relationship between Italian history and fascism, the nature of a genuine antifascist political culture, and the crisis of Italian liberalism in his day. While providing important historical and cultural context, David Ward follows Gobetti's attempts to carve out an oppositional role for the liberal intellectual during the fascist regime. Ward suggests that the eighteenth-century Piedmont patriot Vittorio Alfieri was Gobetti's greatest source of inspiration, especially in regard to his own writing practice. Gobetti, Ward argues, played a pivotal role in Italian intellectual life of the time. He was above all a persuader and propagator of ideas, a militant antifascist intellectual who sought to form and reform hearts and minds, and to this end his writing was his most effective resource.