This new edition of Peter Neville’s Mussolini traces and analyses the life of one of the most fascinating twentieth century European dictators, Benito Mussolini, while placing his life in its historic Italian context. Engaging and accessible, the Duce’s career is traced from his roots as a journalist and socialist to his capture and execution in 1945, addressing crucial issues throughout: was Mussolini really a far right ideologist, or simply a political opportunist? How successful was he at communicating his core beliefs to the Italian people?
This thoroughly updated new edition synthesises the scholarship of the last ten years to consider Italian atrocities in Africa, and the reaction to them by ordinary Italians, in addition to a consideration of the relationship between Mussolini and Hitler while other periods of Mussolini’s life are expanded upon and reconsidered. Finally, the author considers Mussolini’s legacy and his continuing influence in modern Italy.
This biography gives students a useful analytical introduction to the period and the man and provides an explanation of what fascism was and why it resonated with so many people in Italy. It will be essential reading for all students of modern Italy and the history of fascism.
Introduction. 1. The shaping of a political leader, 1883-1919 2. The achievement of power, 1919-24 3. Crisis and consolidation, 1924-29 4. The evolution of a fascist foreign policy 5. Italian society under Mussolini, 1931-396. The Ethiopian War, 1935-36. Into the abyss: foreign and defence policy, 1936-40 8. The slide to disaster, 1940-43 9. The last phase, 1943-45 Conclusion.
Praise of the first edition:
'This thoroughly researched new appraisal of Mussolini offers a sympathetic, but very critical, assessment of this gifted, but fatally flawed icon of twentieth century history. This outstanding short study will be of inestimable value to the student and general reader alike'.
Andrew Crozier, Senior Lecturer and Jean Monnet Lecturer in the History of Contemporary Europe, Queen Mary, University of London
Praise of this edition:
"Peter Neville is well known as a thoroughly reliable historian of the pre-WW2 period in which he has a well-deserved reputation. He writes with authority and has the enviable knack of conveying complex issues in a clear and engaging manner. His Mussolini is no exception. Now in a second, revised edition, Dr Neville’s admirable book can be unhesitatingly recommended to schools and universities –and to the general reader-- as a concise, expert account. The narrative is as gripping as an adventure story."
Anthony Lentin, Wolfson College, University of Cambridge, UK
"Significant advantages are that the historical context is given ample attention - the book begins with a description of the formation of the state of Italy from the 1820s to the 1870s - and the argument is written smoothly."
Enne Koops, Historiek, 2020 (https://historiek.net/benito-mussolini-had-gigantisch-minderwaardigheidscomplex/51418/)