Mussolini: The Last 600 Days of L Duce

Overview

In his last days, Mussolini, the tyrant, was in the grip of anger, shame, and depression. The German armed forces that had sustained his puppet government since its creation in September 1943 were being inexorably driven out of Italy, the frontiers of his Fascist republic were shrinking daily and Mussolini was aware that German military leaders were negotiating with the Allies behind his back in neutral Switzerland. Moseley's well-researched and highly engaging tome throws light on the last twenty months of the ...

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Overview

In his last days, Mussolini, the tyrant, was in the grip of anger, shame, and depression. The German armed forces that had sustained his puppet government since its creation in September 1943 were being inexorably driven out of Italy, the frontiers of his Fascist republic were shrinking daily and Mussolini was aware that German military leaders were negotiating with the Allies behind his back in neutral Switzerland. Moseley's well-researched and highly engaging tome throws light on the last twenty months of the despot's life and culminates with the dramatic capture and execution of Mussolini (and his mistress Claretta Petacci) by partisans of the Italian resistance on April 28, 1945.

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Editorial Reviews

Ap
Has elements of melodrama, of swashbuckling adventure, of tragedy and of comic opera.
Chicago Tribune - Thomas Simpson
Moseley has a crack journalist's nose for the evocative quotation or the vivid fact that encapsulates a larger truth.
The American Conservative - R. J. Stone
Moseley discusses in remarkable detail, but with great readability and a swift narrative pace, the last 15 months of Italy's war.
Goldsboro New-Argus - Mario Szichman
...his life, so splendidly captured, by Mosely...
Publishers Weekly
With a lucid style and a well-paced narrative, Moseley chronicles how, while Hitler and Nazi Germany became more radical, Mussolini and Fascist Italy degenerated into chaos. Moseley, former chief European correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and author of a highly regarded biography of Mussolini's foreign minister and son-in-law, Galeazzo Ciano (Mussolini's Shadow), has written a welcome synthesis of the final months of the fascist regime, beginning in 1943. In doing so, he uncovers the venality, intrigue, corruption, treachery and barbarism of the Fascist and Nazi regimes. The day after the Allies invaded Sicily and made preparations for an invasion of the mainland while their planes were bombing Rome, Turin and Milan, Mussolini was deposed by King Victor Emmanuel III in a (for the time being) bloodless coup d'etat. Moseley shows how Ciano was instrumental in this development and the tragic fate that awaited him. Mussolini is portrayed (accurately) as deflated, depressed and having come late to the realization that he had "ruined Italy." Moseley devotes chapters to the fate of the Roman Jews; the partisan underground; and wartime atrocities, (most of which are attributed to the Germans, thereby giving the false impression that Italian Fascists committed no war crimes). Moseley's telling of the theft of Mussolini's corpse and the return of a fragment of his brain reads like the plot of a bad horror film. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Moseley (European correspondent, Chicago Tribune) provides a detailed account of an often ignored period of Mussolini's regime. Even R.J.B. Bosworth, in his mammoth biography, Mussolini, devotes only a few sentences to the final months of the dictator's tumultuous 23-year reign. Moseley follows Il Duce from his arrest by the pro-Allied government in July 1943 and does not give up the trail until Mussolini's final burial in Predappio in July 1956. In the process, he reveals much about this complex character while evoking the dynamics of the virulent factionalism that characterized postwar Italy. Moseley emphasizes that Mussolini may have wound up a mutilated corpse in a public plaza in Milan with only a few minions and his mistress by his side, but the charismatic dictator's legacy still haunts modern Italy. Moseley displays an impressive familiarity with the relevant primary and the secondary sources and provides an excellent dramatis personae and a chronology that will help readers stay focused. The result is the most balanced account available of Mussolini's last 600 days. Recommended for both public and academic libraries.-Jim Doyle, Sara Hightower Regional Lib., Rome, GA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781589790957
  • Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/30/2004
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 9.18 (w) x 9.14 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Meet the Author

Ray Moseley was the chief European correspondent of the Chicago Tribune and in 1981 was runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize in international reporting. During four decades as a foreign correspondent, he spent five years in Rome and was also based in Moscow, London, Nairobi, Berlin, Belgrade, Cairo, and Brussels. He is author of the widely acclaimed Mussolini's Shadow: The Double Life of Count Galeazzo Ciano. He lives in England.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
1 The Last Spectator 1
2 After the Fall 6
3 Birth of the Salo Republic 25
4 The Fate of the Roman Jews 41
5 Mussolini and Claretta 52
6 A Most Unhappy Family 64
7 Galeazzo Ciano and Edda 70
8 Troubles on All Fronts 81
9 The Partisan War Develops 101
10 Il Duce and the Jews 114
11 The Liberation of Rome 124
12 A Terrible Summer 131
13 More Atrocities, Greater Despair 153
14 "I Have Ruined Italy" 167
15 The Secret Negotiations 174
16 In Search of a Way Out 190
17 Peace Hopes in the Balance 196
18 Looming Defeat and Paralysis 210
19 A Temporary Loss of Nerve 220
20 The Fall of Fascism 225
21 Flight and Capture 249
22 Mussolini Tamed: The Polite Prisoner 263
23 "I've Come to Shoot Them" 275
24 Execution of Il Duce: Whodunnit? 289
25 Piazzale Loreto: A Shameful Denouement 311
26 The German Surrender 323
27 Lakeside Murders and the Dongo Treasure 333
28 The Mysterious Churchill File 341
29 The Dead Sprout Wings 350
30 Epilogue 364
Chronology 368
Dramatis Personae 375
Notes 383
Bibliography 412
Index 416
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