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The Pope and Mussolini

The Pope and Mussolini by David I. Kertzer
Paperback
Jan 06, 2015 | 592 Pages
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    Jan 06, 2015 | 592 Pages

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    Jan 28, 2014 | 592 Pages

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Praise

“David Kertzer has an eye for a story, an ear for the right word, and an instinct for human tragedy. They all come together in The Pope and Mussolini to document, with meticulous scholarship and novelistic flair, the complicity between Pius XI and the Fascist leader in creating an unholy alliance between the Vatican and a totalitarian government rooted in corruption and brutality. This is a sophisticated blockbuster.”—Joseph J. Ellis, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Revolutionary Summer
 
“Much more attention has been given to the Vatican’s compromises and complicity with Hitler, but Kertzer tells a fascinating and tragic story of its self-interested support for Mussolini when he was vulnerable early on.”The New Yorker

“Revelatory . . . [a] detailed portrait of the inner workings of the Vatican in this period . . . The general outlines of this story have always been matters of public record, but Kertzer’s book deepens and alters our understanding considerably. The portrait that emerges from it suggests a much more organic and symbiotic relationship between the Church and fascism. Rather than seeing the Church as having passively accepted fascism as a fait accompli, Kertzer sees it as having provided fundamental support to Mussolini in his consolidation of power and the establishment of dictatorship in Italy.”The New York Review of Books

“Gripping storytelling . . . a book whose narrative strength is as impressive as its moral subtlety . . . Kertzer has uncovered a fascinating tale of two irascible—and often irrational—potentates, and gives us an account of some murky intellectual finagling, and an often startling investigation of the exercise of power.”The Guardian

“Captivating . . . the real Da Vinci Code—only it’s rigorously documented and far less implausible.”San Francisco Chronicle

“The papacy of Pius XI remained essentially a foil for discussing his successor. Kertzer’s excellent volume will change all of that. . . . From the outset of his new book, Kertzer deftly reconstructs the parallel lives of Achille Ratti, who became Pius XI, and of Benito Mussolini, both men whose beginnings do not point to the historic role that they began to play in 1922. The narration unfolds along the separate political, ideological, and institutional backgrounds of the Pope’s and Duce’s careers and brings up in fascinating detail the issues on which their interests converged and clashed. . . . Kertzer’s essential book reveals a window on this sordid history—a window that for a long time was shuttered, but will not be obscured anymore.”The New Republic
 
“Stunning . . . remarkable . . . Kertzer authoritatively banishes decades of denial and uncertainty about the Vatican’s relationship with Italy’s fascist state.”The Christian Science Monitor

“A capstone on David Kertzer’s already crucial work, The Pope and Mussolini carefully and eloquently advances the painful but necessary truth of Vatican failure to meet its greatest moral test. This is history for the sake of justice.”—James Carroll, National Book Award–winning author of Constantine’s Sword

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