From National Book Award-finalist David Kertzer, an explosive book that exposes the fractious, co-dependent relationship between Pope Pius XI and Mussolini.
With the recent opening of the Vatican archives covering Pius XI's papacy, the full story of his dealings with the Italian dictator can be told for the first time in The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe ($32.00). The two men -- one scholarly and devout, the other an anti-clerical rabble-rouser-came to power in Rome in the same year, 1922. Contrary to the widely accepted account of this time, in which a heroic Church does battle with the Fascist regime, David Kertzer shows that Mussolini would not have been able to impose his dictatorship on Italy without the pope's support. In exchange, the pope expected Mussolini to use his repressive reach to enforce Catholic morality. Even in the face of Mussolini's increasing embrace of Hitler, each man relied on the other to consolidate his power and pursue his political goals. Reaching from Sistine Chapel conclaves to roaring Fascist crowds, The Pope and Mussolini is a thrilling history, surprising and finely-wrought.
David Kertzer is the Paul Dupee, Jr. University Professor of Social Science and professor of anthropology and Italian studies at Brown University, where he served as provost from 2006 to 2011. He is the author of nine books, including The Popes Against the Jews, which was a finalist for the Mark Lynton History Prize, and The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. He has twice been awarded the Marraro Prize from the Society for Italian Historical Studies for the best work on Italian history. He and his wife, Susan, live in Providence.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY "SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE"