Mussolini

Mussolini

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by R. J. B. Bosworth
     
 

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Mussolini was one of the tyrant-killers of the Axis powers who scarred Europe during World War II, but we can't properly understand him or his regime by any facile equation with Hitler or Stalin. Like them, his life began modestly in the provinces; unlike them, he maintained a traditional male family life, including both a wife and mistresses, and sought in his way

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Overview

Mussolini was one of the tyrant-killers of the Axis powers who scarred Europe during World War II, but we can't properly understand him or his regime by any facile equation with Hitler or Stalin. Like them, his life began modestly in the provinces; unlike them, he maintained a traditional male family life, including both a wife and mistresses, and sought in his way to be an intellectual. He was cruel (though not the cruelest); his racism existed, but never with the consistency and vigor that would have made him a good recruit for the SS. He sought an empire, but, for the most part, his was of the old-fashioned, costly, nineteenth-century variety, not of a racial or ideological imperialism. And Italy was not Germany or Russia: the particular patterns of that society greatly shaped his dictatorship.

R. J. B. Bosworth's Mussolini allows us to come closer than ever before to an appreciation of the life and actions of the man and of the political world and society within which he operated. With extraordinary skill and vividness, drawing on a huge range of sources, this biography paints a picture of brutality and failure, yet one tempered with an understanding of Mussolini as a human being shaped by and living within the context of this time.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Bosworth (history, Univ. of West Australia; Italian Dictatorship) is an authority on 20th-century Italy, and his exhaustive study of Benito Mussolini, first published in London, leaves no stone unturned in trying to explain the complexities of Il Duce and his times. Bosworth includes copious footnotes and an impressive bibliography to authenticate his compelling interpretation of Italy's Fascist dictator. This portrait of Mussolini reveals the author's appreciation of the complex ingredients of Il Duce's legacy a legacy that still influences Italian politics. Mussolini was a "man of image" whose virile charisma unified a fractious nation, but the ideological underpinnings of fascism never sank very deeply into Italian society. Although his 22-year dictatorial reign brought misery to millions, Mussolini never bought into the racist fanaticism of his Nazi brethren. As Bosworth infers, Mussolini's inherent zest for life kept him from becoming the grim exterminator Hitler wanted him to be. Bosworth's biography easily supersedes Denis Mack Smith's 1982 Mussolini as the definitive study of the Italian dictator and belongs in every public and academic library with a strong European history collection. Jim Doyle, Sara Hightower Regional Lib., Rome, GA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780340981733
Publisher:
Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date:
03/15/2011
Pages:
544
Sales rank:
714,461
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)

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