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About the Book

Beyond the Book

552 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 17 halftones, notes, bibl., index

New Cold War History

ISBN  978-1-4696-2211-8
Published: December 2014

Confronting America

The Cold War between the United States and the Communists in France and Italy

By Alessandro Brogi

Awards & Distinctions

2012 Smith Award, European Section, Southern Historical Association

Throughout the Cold War, the United States encountered unexpected challenges from Italy and France, two countries with the strongest, and determinedly most anti-American, Communist Parties in Western Europe. Based primarily on new evidence from communist archives in France and Italy, as well as research archives in the United States, Alessandro Brogi's original study reveals how the United States was forced by political opposition within these two core Western countries to reassess its own anticommunist strategies, its image, and the general meaning of American liberal capitalist culture and ideology.

Brogi shows that the resistance to Americanization was a critical test for the French and Italian communists' own legitimacy and existence. Their anti-Americanism was mostly dogmatic and driven by the Soviet Union, but it was also, at crucial times, subtle and ambivalent, nurturing fascination with the American culture of dissent. The staunchly anticommunist United States, Brogi argues, found a successful balance to fighting the communist threat in France and Italy by employing diplomacy and fostering instances of mild dissent in both countries. Ultimately, both the French and Italian communists failed to adapt to the forces of modernization that stemmed both from indigenous factors and from American influence. Confronting America illuminates the political, diplomatic, economic, and cultural conflicts behind the U.S.-communist confrontation.

About the Author

Alessandro Brogi is professor of history at the University of Arkansas and author of two previous books, L'Italia e l'egemonia americana nel Mediterraneo and A Question of Self-Esteem: The United States and the Cold War Choices in France and Italy.


“Brogi masterfully examines US efforts to counter influence of the French and Italian communist parties throughout the Cold War.”

Confronting America adds significantly to our understanding of Washington’s successful post-World War II policies in Western Europe and its ability to forge a Western alliance.”
--David F. Schmitz, Journal of American History

“Critically important. . . . Brogi has told us a unique and fascinating story and illuminated an otherwise unexplored yet critical aspect of the Cold War.”
--Irwin Wall, University of California, Riverside, H-Diplo Roundtable

“Impressive. . . . A significant contribution to the historiography of the Cold War, and illustrates the possibilities of multi-archival research for U.S. foreign relations and international history.”

“One would be hard pressed to find a more suitable candidate than Alessandro Brogi to write a comparative account of the Cold War relationship(s) between France, Italy, and the United States. . . . [A] testimony to the fact that work in Western archives continues to bear rich fruit.”
--Kaeten Mistry, University of East Anglia, H-Diplo Roundtable

“An extremely rich survey of forty years of transatlantic relations, trespassing the limits of the Cold War and delving into cultural history, theories of modernization, patterns of Americanization and much more. . . . Insightful and very useful.”
--Leopoldo Nuti, Università degli Studi Roma Tre, H-Diplo Roundtable

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