Mussolini: The Rise and Fall of Il Duce

Overview

With his signature insight and compelling style, Christopher Hibbert explains the extraordinary complexities and contradictions that characterized Benito Mussolini.  Mussolini was born on a Sunday afternoon in 1883 in a village in central Italy. On a Saturday afternoon in 1945 he was shot by Communist partisans on the shores of Lake Como. In the sixty-two years in between those two fateful afternoons Mussolini lived one of the most dramatic lives in modern history. Hibbert traces ...

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Overview

With his signature insight and compelling style, Christopher Hibbert explains the extraordinary complexities and contradictions that characterized Benito Mussolini.  Mussolini was born on a Sunday afternoon in 1883 in a village in central Italy. On a Saturday afternoon in 1945 he was shot by Communist partisans on the shores of Lake Como. In the sixty-two years in between those two fateful afternoons Mussolini lived one of the most dramatic lives in modern history. Hibbert traces Mussolini's unstoppable rise to power and details the nuances of his facist ideology. This book examines Mussolini's legacy and reveals why he continues to be both revered and reviled by the Italian people.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Christopher Hibbert is a wonderful narrative historian who has illuminated many corners of Italian life and history. He has the gift of creating scenes and characters, of rendering the vividness of the past. His Mussolini is no exception. He manages to convey both the charisma and dilettantismo of Mussolini the revolutionary leader as well as the later folly of Il Duce, the dictator who began increasingly to believe his own rhetoric — ''Mussolini is always right' — in leading his country into World War  and ruin." —Alexander Stille, award-winning author of Benevolence and Betrayal: Five Italian-Jewish Families Under Fascism, and of The Sack of Rome: Media + Money + Celebrity = Power = Silvio Berlusconi

 

Praise for Christopher Hibbert:

“Hibbert is a remarkably prolific popular historian, who can take on almost anything, from Dickens to General Wolfe, from Agincourt to Garibaldi.” – The Observer

"An excellent account...balanced and perceptive in outlook...well-written and entertaining."—Economist

 

"[Hibbert] is a superbly skillful historical writer."—The Spectator

 

"An adroitly written evocation of a compelling but enigmatic personality, a man whose ambition, idealism and opportunism would not seem out of place on the political scene today."—Publishers Weekly on Disraeli

 

"Hibbert's lively and engaging portrait of Benjamin Disraeli joins the author's numerous other well-received, popular biographies...A supremely readable and enjoyable study of a colorful, often astonishing and modern character."—Library Journal on Disraeli

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230606050
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 7/22/2008
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 624,153
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Christopher Hibbert, "a pearl of biographers" (New Statesman), is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the author of many highly acclaimed books, including Disraeli, Edward VII, George VI, The Rise and Fall of the House of Medici, and Cavaliers and Roundheads. He lives in Henley-on-Thames, England.

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Table of Contents

Illustrations

Family Tree showing Mussolini's Ancestry and Descendants

Pt. I The Fight for Power

1 The Young Rebel: 29 July 1883-December 1912 2

2 The Interventionist: October 1913-24 May 1915 19

3 The Fascist in the Making: August 1915-28 October 1922 24

4 The head of the Government: 28 October 1922-13 June 1924 35

5 The Dictator: 13 June 1924-10 June 1940 47

Pt. II Empire and Axis

1 The Diplomat: 28 October 1922-10 June 1940 ' 66

2 The Commander-in-Chief: 10 June 1940-23 October 1942 127

Pt. III The Fall of the Colossus

1 'The War is Going Badly': 23 October 1942-23 January 1943 146

2 The Conspirators: November 1942-24 July 1943 160

3 The Grand Council Meeting: 24-25 July 1943 173

4 The Arrest at Villa Savoia: 25 July 1943 192

5 The Prisoner: 25 July 1943-28 August 1943 196

6 On the Gran Sasso: 28 August 1943-12 September 1943 217

7 The Rescue from Gran Sasso: 12 September 1943 223

8 The Meeting at the Fuhrer's Headquarters: 15 September 1943 236

9 The President at Gargnano - The First Year: 27 September 1943-27 September 1944 241

10 The Civil War: November 1943-December 1944 268

11 The President at Gargnano - The Final Months: December 1944-April 1945 274

12 The Germans Surrender: February-April 1945 282

13 The Move to Milan: 19-25 April 1945 286

14 The Flight from Milan: 25-27 April 1945 298

15 The Capture: 27 April 1945 310

16 'Colonel Valerio': 27-28 April 1945 322

17 Death at Villa Belmonte: 28 April 1945 328

18 The Piazzale Loreto: 29 April 1945 333

Notes on Sources 335

Bibliography 346

Index 356

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