The historian Paul Ginsborg has died at the age of 76. Born in London in 1945, former professor at Cambridge University, since 1992 he had taught History of Contemporary Europe at the University of Florence. He has dealt with Italian history for a long time, investigating the intertwining of great events, institutions and individual destinies.
Among his books History of Italy from the post-war period to today. Society and politics 1943-1988 (Einaudi, 1989), History of Italy 1943-1996. Family, society, state. (Einaudi, 1998), Italy of the present time. Family, civil society State. 1980-1996 (Einaudi, 1998), and Daniele Manin and the Venetian revolution of 1848-49 (Feltrinelli, 1978 and Einaudi, 2007).
In the last decades of his life he intervened in the public debate on political and social issues. He collaborated with Francesco Pardi, said Pancho, for the launch of the girotondi movement, of which he was considered the “noble father” and was president emeritus of the association Libertà e Giustizia. He had dedicated himself in particular to the issue of the fragility of contemporary democracy, on the one hand besieged by populist and anti-democratic movements, and on the other discredited by its inability to face the challenges of an increasingly globalized and complex world.
He had coined the lucky expression “reflective middle class” to indicate teachers, journalists, researchers, members of associations, trade unions and cooperatives who were most interested in the fate of society (Ginsborg wrote, in our newspaper, that it was a class “capable of bridging, that is, of building bridges to others” ) and a few years ago, answering an interview on Republiche had affirmed that that class still existed, but it was pervaded by “a bitter reflexivity” and a great disorientation.
In 2003 he published the essay for Einaudi Berlusconiin 2004 Time to change and in 2016 Passions and politics with Sergio Labate.