Riall studied at the London School of Economics and the University of Cambridge. She was a lecturer in Modern European history at the University of Essex before moving to Birkbeck. Since 2004 she has been editor of the journal European History Quarterly.
Among her many prestigious awards are a Visiting Professorship at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris and a Senior Fellowship at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Advanced Study.
One of the leading experts on modern Italy, Riall has written on nineteenth-century state-formation and nationalism in Italy and Sicily. Several of her books treat the history of the Risorgimento; Garibaldi: Invention of a Hero (2007) examined the popular cult of Giuseppe Garibaldi as a global cultural phenomenon.
Riall speaks fluent Italian and she appears frequently on Italian TV and radio (RAI) as well as on the BBC.
- The Italian Risorgimento : state, society, and national unification, Routledge, 1994
- Sicily and the unification of Italy : liberal policy and local power, 1859-1866, Oxford University Press, 1998
- (ed. with David Laven) Napoleon’s Legacy: problems of government in Restoration Europe, Berg, 2000
- Garibaldi : invention of a hero, Yale University Press, 2007 (Italian translation, Laterza, 2007).
- Risorgimento: the history of Italy from Napoleon to nation state, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009 (Italian translation, Donzelli 2009).
- "Martyr Cults in Nineteenth-Century Italy," The Journal of Modern History Vol. 82, No. 2, June 2010
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-10-18. Retrieved 2012-10-12.
- "SAGE Publications Ltd". Uk.sagepub.com. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
- Reviews: Roland Sarti H-Net review October 2007; David Gilmour "The lion or the donkey?" Archived 2011-06-05 at the Wayback Machine., The Spectator, 10 May 2007; Tim Parks, "The Insurgent: Garibaldi and his enemies", The New Yorker, 9 July 2007; Alexander Stille "The Hero Machine", The New Republic, 16 August 2007
- EUI profile
- Birkbeck homepage
- Garibaldi: the patriot as global hero
- Works by or about Lucy Riall in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Italian Radio piece by Lucy Riall on Italian unification
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