- Shaping the New Man: Youth Training Regimes in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany by Alessio Ponzio
Alessio Ponzio’s Shaping the New Man: Youth Training Regimes in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany is an excellent book that compares the training programs for youth leaders in both countries, while also addressing how the two countries interacted with and learned from each other in this area. While scholars have long acknowledged the importance of youth and the future within both the Fascist and Nazi regimes, Ponzio provides “a new, detailed study of the ways in which Fascists and Nazis tried to fulfill their educational goals” (12) by focusing on the ways in which both regimes trained the men (and occasionally women) who served in leadership roles for youth.
Ponzio provides a thorough history of the institutions established under Mussolini and Hitler to train youth leaders, along with how these institutions worked with their counterpart in the other state. While physical education in schools and physical training within the youth organizations played a significant role within youth activities, scholars seeking an in-depth examination of physical education and sport in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany will be disappointed. Ponzio mentions these topics within the book, but he does not focus on the role of sport or physical education in much detail, instead using them as small supporting details. Chapter 3 will likely appeal to individuals interested in physical education teacher training, although Ponzio does not address physical education classes or emphasize sports. Nonetheless, Shaping the New Man is a well-researched book on the institutions designed to uphold the regimes’ emphasis on youth that sport and physical education history scholars might find helpful.