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Mussolini (Hardcover) Loot Price: R414
Discovery Miles 4 140
You Save: R42 (9%)
Mussolini (Hardcover): R. J. B. Bosworth

Mussolini (Hardcover)

R. J. B. Bosworth

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List price R456 Loot Price R414 Discovery Miles 4 140 You Save R42 (9%)

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Why are we so fascinated by dictators? The biographies of such monsters as Hitler, Stalin and now Saddam Hussein come thick and fast, and the readership is by no means confined to historians. We are all fascinated by these men who dispensed death and misery to so many while claiming to be saviours of their countries. Mussolini is, of course, one of the most infamous of this unsavoury breed, and his regime has been the subject of numerous excellent studies. But R J B Bosworth has a particular skill in conjuring up the complex personality of the Italian dictator, and his cool, dispassionate prose perfectly evokes an era and the man who ruled Italy so ruthlessly. As with so many monsters, there are surprising aspects to the dictator: he was a devoted student of philosophy, and followed sport with a genuine enthusiasm. Of course, the number of people who died under his regime rivals even those of his ally Hitler, but Mussolini (unlike Hitler and Stalin) is often regarded as a clownish figure, with his strutting manner and bizarre appearance. He was the recipient of one of the most frequently made observations about any dictator: he made the trains run time. But did he make Italy more efficient? Bosworth is particularly sharp on the ways in which Mussolini altered Italian society, and demonstrates how the man's savagery often concealed his own debilitating consciousness of weakness and failure. From the youthful intellectual with high-flown ideals to the battered body hanging from a lamppost, the remarkable trajectory of Mussolini's career is given a trenchant and fastidiously researched treatment here. (Kirkus UK)
In 1945, disguised in German greatcoat and helmet, Mussolini attempted to escape from the advancing Allied armies. Unfortunately for him, the convoy of which he was part was stopped by partisans and his features, made so familiar by Fascist propaganda, gave him away. Within 24 hours he was executed by his captors, joining those he sent early to their graves as an outcome of his tyranny, at least one million people.
He was one of the tyrant-killers who so scarred interwar Europe, but we cannot properly understand him or his regime by any simple equation with Hitler or Stalin. Like them, his life began modestly in the provinces; unlike them, he maintained a traditonal male family life, including both wife and mistresses, and sought in his way to be an intellectual. He was cruel (though not the cruellist); his racism existed, but never without the consistency and vigor that would have made him a good recruit for the SS. He sought an empire; but, in the most part, his was of the old-fashioned, costly, nineteenth century variety, not a racial or ideological imperium. And, self-evidently Italian society was not German or Russian: the particular patterns of that society shaped his dictatorship.
Bosworth's Mussolini allows us to come closer than ever before to an appreciation of the life and actions of the man and of the political world and society within which he operated. With extraordinary skill and vividness, drawing on a huge range of sources, this biography paints a picture of brutality and failure, yet one tempered with an understanding of Mussolini as a human being, not so different from many of his contemporaries.

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