Covering the century of Amma’s existence, this book helps give a better understanding of Italy’s industrial culture.

 

The first photo catches the gaze from the black eyes of a worker. Others capture big shiny machines, the movement of the pulleys, sparks from the foundries, drawings of warehouses, details of production, struggles in the factories and on the streets, the faces of the workers, production accomplishments, different company environments; different moments from a hundred years of a country’s history, retraced through that of Amma (the Association of Mechanical and Mechatronic Companies), one of Italy’s major industry associations.

This is the focus of “Amma 100. The evolution of industry”, a rich book that has just been published. In just over 200 large pages, the book is a collection of texts and associated photos that retrace a century of Italy’s industrial engineering history.

The book gives an in-depth account of business culture, factory life and, men and women at work. It is divided effectively into three phases: the first part looks at the period from 1919, when Amma was created, until the end of the war; the second takes us from reconstruction in 1946 to the boom in 1968, and the final section covers the period from the Hot Autumn of 1969 to 2019, the era of Industry 4.0. Each stage of Amma’s journey (and everything that revolves around it) is recalled in Giuseppe Berta’s account (he is an economics and industry historian and, above all, an expert on the specific case of the Italian industrial north-west). Berta interweaves the major events in Italian history with the minute, but no less important, local industrial history, which includes large companies like Fiat as well as small businesses. Every step is illustrated by images from different archives necessary to complement the text, photographs that depict the details as well as the full picture; images that often capture the true industrial essence of the time, as well as social, cultural and political events. Text and photos – it should be said – don’t spare anyone; instead they portray a piece of Italy (made up of industry, effort, hard work and more) that should be remembered today, an Italy that knew how to bounce back, despite truly difficult periods caused by wars, social clashes, attacks and political and institutional uncertainties.

“Amma 100” is not just a book to celebrate a birthday, nor is it a boring book about economic history. It’s something else that should be read carefully, to understand the culture of production, the traits of which still exist today but need to be defended and valued.

 

Amma 100. The evolution of Industry

Various authors.

Ansa, 2019

21/05/2019