Violence and the Great Estates in the South of Italy
Until Italian unification, vast areas of Apulia were an uninhabited sheep walk. In the late nineteenth century this frontier area was settled and agro-business established. In the quasi-colonial context of the South of Italy, the relations between landowners and farm workers were characterized by extreme forms of oppression and brutality. This book is a study of the world the landlords made and of the harsh structures of profit, tenure, and climate they faced. It is also a powerful investigation of the appallingly grim conditions in the teeming agricultural centres of the region and a vivid history of the struggle by the farm workers to win the ordinary decencies of life - clothes, clean water, and bread. In the process, the labourers formed a potent anarcho-syndicalist movement whose history the book relates from the first general strikes in 1901 to the restoration of the landlords' power by fascist terror in 1922.