|King Emanuel II of Italy meets|
the politician and military leader Giuseppe Garibaldi
My object in writing this book has been a twofold one. First, I have endeavoured to give a trustworthy account of a chapter of modern history which has been most inadequately dealt with both at home and abroad. Outside a few limited studies, there is hardly an English or even a French writer who has treated the Italian history of the century with much pretence to accuracy or research; and bulky as is the material published in Italy, Italian historians have not been successful in weaving the material into any very well-proportioned or readable whole. My second aim has been to make the re-birth of a noble and friendly nation better understood in a country which knows little really of Italy. The Englishman's knowledge of the Italian Revolution is summed, it has been said, in the belief that it had something to do with Garibaldi and a red shirt A leading London newspaper recently urged the Italians in all seriousness to take some steps in the direction of Cavour's Free Church, forgetting that this was done a quarter of a century ago; and many a lecture on their recent troubles would have been spoilt by a rudimentary knowledge of their history of the last forty years. The tie, that united so closely the English and Italians of the last generation, seems slackening, and it needs more mutual knowledge to cement the sympathy again.
Excerpt from the preface of A History of Italian Unity: being a political history of Italy from 1814 to 1871 by Bolton King, M.A., published in 1899 (Both Volume 1 and Volume 2 are available online). Iqbal mentioned this book in 1928 in an article about the Pushto poet Khus-hal Khan Khattak: "The day is not far off when some Afghan historian will tell us the story of the unity of his race much in the same way as Bolton King has told the story of the unity of Italy."