During the Italian Risorgimento, interest in the social and political experiment in the United States of America was lively but intermittent. On the whole, the example provided by the American federal government and American politics proved to be less persuasive than other constitutional arrangements in Europe. Axel Körner’s book analyses the details of the Italian knowledge of North America in the 19th century. It highlights, too, crucial methodological questions related to the history of concepts and the irony inherent in comparing 19th-century perceptions and today’s scholarship.
Keywords: Risorgimento, federalism, history of concepts, irony.