Keywords: Higher Education; Italian University System; University Reforms; University Governance; University and Society.
Four books on the Italian university system have recently been published. After briefly presenting the contents, the points of convergence and those of divergence, two issues suggested by their comparison are discussed. The first concerns the different points of view from which to look at the recent story of the Italian university. Two different views proposed by the reviewed works - both centred on the relationship between university and politics - are complemented by another one focusing on the relationship between the university and society. In particular, we describe some tensions in the current social contract between the Italian university and society and we ask ourselves about the possible ways to establish a new one. The second question concerns the overall judgment that the four books give on the Italian university system. Having detected a contradiction in the way in which they link the conditions of the system - the tree - and its results - the fruit - two possible explanations are offered.