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Bosworth's Mussolini allows us to come closer than ever before to an understanding of the life and actions of the dictator and of the political world and society within which he operated. This biography paints a picture of brutality and failure in governance with insight into Mussolini as a human being shaped by the particular patterns of Italian society which were so vastly different from Axis partners Germany and Japan.
Mussolini was a brutal tyrant who added untold numbers to the dead of war torn Europe but we cannot understand his regime by equating it with Hitler or Stalin. His life began modestly in the provinces and he maintained a traditional family life for a man of his time including both a wife and mistresses. He sought in his way to be an intellectual but was capable of cruelty and was a racist with the consistency and vigor which would have made him a good recruit for the SS. He sought an empire but, for the most part, was more of an old-fashioned nineteenth century despot not a racial or ideological imperium.
His end came in 1945 in the closing days of World War II. Disguised in German greatcoat and helmet, Mussolini attempted to escape from the advancing Allied armies but was stopped by partisans who recognized his features, made so familiar by Fascist propaganda which eventually gave him away, and within 24 hours he was publicly executed.
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The new edition of this award-winning biography contains fresh insights into one of history's most intriguing figures. By emphasizing the impact of political and social upheaval in shaping Mussolini's image, Bosworth skillfully juxtaposes his subject's renowned brutality against his inner compassion. Mussolini never fails to grip.About 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, Clare Hall (Cambridge), Balliol (Oxford), and the Humanities Research Centre (Canberra). He is currently Professor of History at the University of Western Australia and the author of The Italian Dictatorship:Problems and Perspectives in the Interpretation of Mussolini and Fascism (Arnold/Oxford, 1998).
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