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Mussolini's Daughter: The Most Dangerous Woman in Europe

Mussolini's Daughter: The Most Dangerous Woman in Europe

by Caroline Moorehead
Mussolini's Daughter: The Most Dangerous Woman in Europe

Mussolini's Daughter: The Most Dangerous Woman in Europe

by Caroline Moorehead


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The New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Resistance Quartet returns with the incredible story of Mussolini’s daughter, Edda, one of the most influential women in 1930s Italy and a powerful proponent of the fascist movement.

Edda Mussolini was the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s oldest and favorite child. At 19, she was married to Count Galleazzo Ciano, Il Duce’s Minister for Foreign Affairs during the 1930s, the most turbulent decade in Italy’s fascist history. In the years preceding World War II, Edda ruled over Italy’s aristocratic families and the cultured and middle classes while selling Fascism on the international stage. How a young woman wielded such control is the heart of Caroline Moore’s fascinating history. The issues that emerge reveal not only a great deal about the power of fascism, but also the ease with which dictatorship so easily took hold in a country weakened by war and a continent mired in chaos and desperate for peace.

Drawing on a wealth of archival material, some newly released, along with memoirs and personal papers, Mussolini’s Daughter paints a portrait of a woman in her twenties whose sheer force of character and ruthless narcissism helped impose a brutal and vulgar movement on a pliable and complicit society. Yet as Moorehead shows, not even Edda’s colossal willpower, her scheming, nor her father’s avowed love could save her husband from Mussolini’s brutal vengeance.

As she did in her Resistance Quartet, Moorehead delves deep into the past, exploring what fascism felt like to those living under it, how it blossomed and grew, and how fascists and aristocrats joined forces to pursue ten years of extravagance, amorality, and excessive luxury—greed, excess, and ambition that set the world on fire. The result is a powerful portrait of a young woman who played a key role in one of the most terrifying and violent periods in human history.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062967251
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11/15/2022
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 175,747
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Caroline Moorehead is the New York Times bestselling author of the Resistance Quartet, which includes A Bold and Dangerous Family, Village of Secrets, and A Train in Winter, as well as Human Cargo, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. An acclaimed biographer, she has written for the New York Review of Books, The Guardian, and The Independent. She lives in London and Italy.

Table of Contents

Principal Characters xi

Map of Fascist Rome xiii

Foreword xv

Part 1 Prologue 1

Chapter 1 La cavallina matta 3

Chapter 2 A country ungoverned and ungovernable 17

Chapter 3 A path full of traps 33

Chapter 4 The tentacles of an octopus 54

Chapter 5 The virago 66

Chapter 6 La prima signora di Shanghai 79

Part 2 Episodes 97

Chapter 7 The cult of the Duce 99

Chapter 8 At Ciano's court 118

Chapter 9 Lionesses without manes 132

Chapter 10 The most influential woman in Europe 145

Chapter 11 The Fascists at play 163

Chapter 12 Death comes to Rome 183

Chapter 13 Wavering 197

Chapter 14 Waiting 216

Chapter 15 Dancing from one party to the next 232

Chapter 16 Plotting 242

Part 3 Exodus 259

Chapter 17 Death walks on the roof 261

Chapter 18 What have we become? 278

Chapter 19 Doing one's duty 287

Chapter 20 A gangster's moll on the run 307

Chapter 21 Edda is willing 317

Chapter 22 Settling scores 329

Chapter 23 L'Aquilaccia 344

Afterword 351

Acknowledgements 359

List of Illustrations 361

Select Bibliography 363

Notes 371

Index 387

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