What do gunpowder, tobacco, and high-performance schools have in common? If we have the Great Wars of the 20th century as our backdrop, quite a lot. At the end of World War I, Germany was trying to cope with grave social problems. The owner of a cigarette company decided to fund a new school for his workers’ kids. Roughly thirty years later, the citizens of Italy found themselves dealing with the consequences of being in the losing side of World War II. Some families in the village of...