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"Was Mussolini really the power-crazed cynic that many see him as? Was he a true revolutionary? Both ruthless and opportunistic, Benito Mussolini was driven by ideology and his desire to make Italy great. But conservative forces in the Italian establishment and factional warfare in his own Fascist party were stumbling blocks to his policy, and ultimately Italy never became as fascist as Mussolini would have liked." Peter Neville presents a new assessment of the life and times of the famous leader. This study places the fascist movement in its historical context and assesses its theoretical base. He examines the formative influence of the young Mussolini, his turn away from socialism by 1914, his regime and foreign policy as a leader, and his historical legacy. Clear and engaging, this survey is key to the understanding of one of the most fascinating of twentieth-century European dictators.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise of the first edition:

'This thoroughly researched new appraisal of Mussolini offers a sympathetic, but very critical, assessment of this gifted, but fatally flawed icon of twentieth century history. This outstanding short study will be of inestimable value to the student and general reader alike'.

Andrew Crozier, Senior Lecturer and Jean Monnet Lecturer in the History of Contemporary Europe, Queen Mary, University of London

Praise of this edition:

"Peter Neville is well known as a thoroughly reliable historian of the pre-WW2 period in which he has a well-deserved reputation.  He writes with authority and has the enviable knack of conveying complex issues in a clear and engaging manner. His Mussolini is no exception. Now in a second, revised edition, Dr Neville’s admirable book can be unhesitatingly recommended to schools and universities –and to the general reader-- as a concise, expert account. The narrative is as gripping as an adventure story."      

Anthony Lentin, Wolfson College, University of Cambridge, UK

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of plates
Introduction 1
1 The shaping of a political leader, 1883-1919 16
2 The achievement of power, 1919-24 41
3 Crisis and consolidation, 1924-29 61
4 The dictator at his zenith 89
5 Italian society under Mussolini, 1931-39 106
6 The Ethiopian War, 1935-36 121
7 Into the abyss: foreign and defence policy, 1936-40 136
8 The slide to disaster, 1940-43 162
9 The last phase, 1943-45 182
Conclusion 198
Notes 214
Select bibliography 225
Index 228
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