John Foot

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Person.png John Foot  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
John Foot.png
Born8 November 1964
London, UK
Alma materOriel College (Oxford), King's College (Cambridge)
ParentsPaul Foot
Interests • Milan
• Lombardy
English historian specialising in Italy.

John Mackintosh Foot is an English historian specialising in Italy. [1][2] He wrote an article on the kidnapping of Abu Omar from a street in Milan.


The son of journalist Paul Foot and his first wife, Monica (née Beckinsale),[3] Foot graduated from Oxford University with a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics in 1986, and in 1991 gained his doctorate from Cambridge University, submitting a thesis on the socialist movements in Milan between 1914 and 1921.


From 1989 until 1995, he was an associate lecturer at Churchill College, Cambridge University, organising seminars on Italian and French history during the twentieth century. He began to work on the period of the 'economic miracle' in the city of Milan, and this research eventually led to a book called Milan since the Miracle.[4]

Later, he taught subjects related to the history and politics of Europe, with an emphasis on Italy, at several British universities, including Reading (1994), Keele (1995–96) and Strathclyde (1996). From 1996 to 2000, he worked at the Italian Department of University College of London (UCL), where he became a professor of Italian history until 2004. In 2013, he moved to the University of Bristol to take up the chair in Modern Italian History. He is currently Director of the South West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership.

From 1994 to 1997, he was secretary of the Association for the Study of Modern Italy, and was a member of the executive committee until 1999. In 1999, he was awarded the Dyos Prize in Urban History by the University of Cambridge. From 2010 to 2014 he was co-editor, with Professor Phil Cooke, of the journal Modern Italy.

Foot has written a history of Italian football, Calcio, published in 2006 (a 2007 edition included details of Italy's 2006 World Cup victory and the calciopoli scandal). The book was published in the US with the title Winning at all Costs. It has also been published in Italy, with a later Italian edition updating the story to 2011. In 2006, this book came second in the prestigious Premio Bancarella Sport book prize. His interest in the cultural history of Italian sport was continued with his well-reviewed history of Italian cycling, Pedalare, which also appeared in both Italian and English. In addition, he has written a history textbook, Modern Italy, which was updated with a second edition in 2014. In 2009, he published the study Italy's Divided Memory, which appeared in a longer Italian version as Fratture d'Italia.

In 2014, with a grant from the Wellcome Trust, he brought out the first critical history of the radical Psychiatric reform in Italy – led by Franco Basaglia – which closed down the psychiatric hospitals there. The book appeared in an English edition published by Verso Books in 2015 with the title The Man who Closed the Asylums. This edition has received reviews in Nature, The Guardian, The Times Literary Supplement, the Financial Times and elsewhere. He was invited to festivals in Mantua and Pordenone in 2014 and 2015 to discuss the book.

Foot has written for The Guardian, The Times Literary Supplement, the London Review of Books and other publications. He has published numerous academic articles, works as a reviewer and peer reviewer for grant-making bodies, journals and publishers – and has appeared on Radio 4, 5 Live, Radio 3 and on overseas media outlets. He also writes for the Italian magazine Internazionale. He has had regular slots on Milan's Radio Popolare radio station and was for a time based in Milan.


A Document by John Foot

TitleDocument typePublication dateSubject(s)
Document:The Rendition of Abu OmararticleAugust 2007"Extraordinary rendition"
Abu Omar
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