Mussolini

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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...

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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

From the Publisher
"The definitive study of the Italian dictator."—Library Jourbanal
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780340981733
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 3/15/2011
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 637,283
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Bosworth is one of the world's leading authorities on modern Italian history. He has been a Visiting Fellow at a number of institutions, including the Italian Academy at Columbia University, St. Johns and Clare Hall (Cambridge), Balliol and All Souls Colleges (Oxford), the Humanities Research Centre (Canberra) and the University of Trento in Italy. He currently shares his Professorship of History between the University of Western Australia and Reading University in the UK. Since the initial publication of his biography of Mussolini, he has written Mussolini's Italy: life under the dictatorship (Penguin, 2006), and a short polemic, Nationalism (Pearson, 2007). In 2009 he edited for Oxford University Press the Oxford handbook of fascism.

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations and maps IX

Preface XI

Introduction to the new edition (2010) 1

Introduction to the first edition (2002) 7

1 The Furies and Benito Mussolini, 1944-1945 16

2 First of his class? The Mussolinis and the young Benito, 1883-1902 35

3 Emigrant and socialist, 1902-1910 50

4 The class struggle, 1910-1914 66

5 War and revolution, 1914-1919 85

6 The first months of Fascism, 1919-1920 104

7 The Fascist rise to power, 1920-1922 121

8 Government, 1922-1924 140

9 The imposition of dictatorship, 1924-1925 159

10 The Man of Providence, 1926-1929 177

11 Mussolini in his pomp, 1929-1932 196

12 The challenge of Adolf Hitler, 1932-1934 214

13 Empire in Ethiopia, 1935-1936 233

14 Crisis in Europe, 1936-1938 252

15 The approach of a Second World War, 1938-1939 271

l6 Germany's ignoble second, 1939-1941 290

17 First fall and feeble resurrection, 1942-1943 310

l8 The ghost of Benito Mussolini, 1945-2010 332

Notes 349

Select bibliography 433

Index 491

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Customer Reviews

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