Recommended reading on Italy under Fascism 1922-1945

Discussions on all aspects of Italy under Fascism from the March on Rome to the end of the war.
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Marcus
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Recommended reading on Italy under Fascism 1922-1945

Post by Marcus » 10 Dec 2006 11:20

The idea of this sticky is to collect recommandations on good books dealing with Italy during the fascist era.

Please post the title, author and a short (or long) explenation as to why you feel that particular title deserves to be included.

/Marcus


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Last edited by Marcus on 03 Nov 2007 19:22, edited 1 time in total.

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Xª Mas
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Post by Xª Mas » 10 Dec 2006 21:04

Ah, good idea. I have a good book to reccomend.The book is titled, "Frogmen: First Battles"
by William Schofield and P. J. Carisella. This book is an excellant documentation and a fantastic story of the 10th Light Flotilla or the "Frogmen" and their successes at Gibralter, Alexandria, and areas throughout all of the Mediterranean. Frogmen specialized in single man driven torpedos or bombs attached to a ships hull that brought the entire ship down in flames, and in many cases the Frogmen escaping to bomb another ship another day. As time went on technology increased, and the E-boat was created, a small speed boat loaded with bombs that a Frogman would eject, and crash it directly into a ship. The success of the Italian Frogman inspired the Allies to attempt Frogman programs themselves. This book is an excellent source of the Frogmen, their plans to attack New York, and the history behind the Scire and its commander Valerio Borghese. This book focuses on the lives of the Frogmen, and I highly reccomend this book.

pitman
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Post by pitman » 10 Dec 2006 22:46

I would highly recommend Charles Delzell's Mussolini's Enemies. Very well researched, very well written, good analysis.

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Post by StephanieSklar » 14 Dec 2006 23:17

I have a good suggestion, although it is in French (it is translated from Italian):

-Histoire Illustrée du Fascisme- par Francesca Tacci

Maybe it is also translated in English? The title would then be: Illustrated Histroy of Fascism.

It is a big, colourful book, full of pics on all Fascist Italy's history. Lots of vintage pics, and it really explains everything there is to know. A good beginning on that period.

I got mine from a used book store, $15 (Can) , like new (no tear), but I am sure a new book like that would be worth at least $40 (Can). It is made like an "album" format.

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Post by Custermen » 27 Jan 2007 01:46

I have a good book to reccomend... "Frogmen: First Battles"
Well, I must also add this one:

"The Black Prince and the Sea Devils", The story of Valerio Borghese and the eleite units of the Decimas Mas. by Jack Greene and Alessandro Massignani.
284 pages. Da Capo Press, 2004.
I've read about half of it. Details of some of their raids. History and sketches and photos of their torpedo boats and underwater craft.

Steve

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emir pasha
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Post by emir pasha » 09 Apr 2007 11:47

I'd propose "Genesis and Structure of Society" by Giovanni Gentile, the ideologue of fascism. It is a must be for anyone interested with the fascist ideology.

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Marcus
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Post by Marcus » 25 Jan 2008 18:09

Image
(click the cover & buy it to support the site & forum)

I'm currently reading "Iron Arm: The Mechanization of Mussolini's Army, 1920-1940" by John Joseph Timothy Sweet and so far it is an excellent book on development on the Italian armored forces in the inter-war period.

/Marcus

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Spirow Ewes
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Post by Spirow Ewes » 25 Jan 2008 20:55

Marcus, I'm thinking about buying this book. Is it really worthy? Can you detail it's contents to me?

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Marcus
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Post by Marcus » 25 Jan 2008 23:18

This is the first book on the Italian armored forces I've read (I've also bought but not yet read "Iron Hulls Iron Hearts: Mussolini's Elite Armoured Divisions in North Africa") so I can't really compare it to others but I find it very interesting and since the paperback was only about $10 when I bought so it was cheap too :-)

The chapters are:
Introduction
A short history of the Italian Army 1860-1918
The Italian economy
Reggimento Carri Armati
From the Alps to Ethiopia
Combat Experience
Divisions and Corps
Prelude to war
New ideas, old tanks

/Marcus

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Re: Recommended reading on Italy under Fascism 1922-1945

Post by Ranke » 19 May 2008 02:46

I just picked up John Gooch, Mussolini and His Generals: The Armed Forces and Fascist Foreign Policy, 1922-1940, Cambridge, 2007.

Book Description
This is the first authoritative study of the Italian armed forces and the relationship between the military and foreign policies of Fascist Italy from Mussolini's rise to power in 1922 to the catastrophic defeat of 1940. Using extensive new research, John Gooch explores the nature and development of the three armed forces, their relationships with Mussolini and the impact of his policies and command, the development of operational and strategic thought, and the deployment and use of force in Libya, Abyssinia and Spain. He emphasizes Mussolini's long-term expansionist goals and explains how he responded to the structural pressures of the international system and the contingent pressures of events. This compelling account shows that while Mussolini bore ultimate responsibility for Italy's fateful entry into the Second World War, his generals and admirals bore a share of the blame for defeat through policies that all too often rested on irrationality and incompetence.


It comes highly recommended:

Review
"John Gooch has once again proven himself to be one of the major military historians of twentieth century Europe. This study represents a significant contribution to our understanding of the interwar history of the Italian military and its relationship to Fascist foreign policy before the smashup of 1940. It is particularly good at laying out the dysfunctional nature of Italian foreign and military policies. What is of great use to our historical understanding of the period is that Professor Gooch has provided both context and understanding to the military side of the equation, which has all too often been lacking in the study of Mussolini's Italy."
- Williamson Murray, Institute for Defense Analyses

"Scholars have attempted to explain Fascist Italy's foreign and military policies in isolation from one another. But Benito Mussolini dominated both, and the Duce of Fascism was no split personality. John Gooch's pioneering study covers both key aspects of Fascist policy on the basis of extensive research in the difficult-of-access archives of the armed forces and foreign ministry. The result is an unprecedented achievement: a meticulous account that ties together diplomacy, deployment planning, the organizational agendas and force structures of the three services, and the dictator's often bizarre policy inspirations."
- MacGregor Knox, The London School of Economics and Political Science

"John Gooch has written a thorough and fully documented study of Italian military policy during Mussolini's Fascist rule. Gooch's work makes untenable the common, if condescending or escapist, view that this regime's warring was no more than a joke. Yet his rich detail does make manifest the innumerable and unresolved contradictions, both structural and personal, that dogged the ideologically driven efforts to raise Italy above its habitual role as the least of the Great Powers. Here, Gooch comprehensively shows us, was a war-mongering dictatorship destined to lose its serious wars."
- Professor R.J.B. Bosworth, School of Humanities, The University of Western Australia

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Pips
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Re: Recommended reading on Italy under Fascism 1922-1945

Post by Pips » 16 Jul 2009 16:14

"Mussolini's Africa Korps: The Italian Army in North Africa 1940-1943" by Rex Trye is a fairly basic, but nonetheless indepth look at how the Italian armed forces operated in North Africa. It's looks at the attitude of the front line soldier, as well as an appreciation of the material, logistics and leadership difficulties that plagued Italian efforts throughout the campaign.

A good introduction to Italian efforts in WWII.
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Spirow Ewes
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Re: Recommended reading on Italy under Fascism 1922-1945

Post by Spirow Ewes » 16 Jul 2009 16:32

Last time I checked, that book was out of stock in Amazon. Do you know where can I buy it?

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Pips
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Re: Recommended reading on Italy under Fascism 1922-1945

Post by Pips » 16 Jul 2009 16:33

Another book that follows nicely with the above mentioned one is "Hitler's Italian Allies: Royal Armed Forces, Fascist Regime, and the War of 1940-1943" by MacGregor Knox.

Knox' book is a seious study into why the Italians performed so badly throughout WWII. It delves deeply into the structure and leadership of the three armed forces, the bitter factional fighting between the various generals and admirals and the poor strategic direction provided by Commando Supremo. It looks at how ill prepared Italian industry was - and how corrupt. The Regime failed miserably in both mobilising the nations resources and it's manpower. Logistics, communications, armament, doctrine, training; all were not merely inadequate but, Knox claims, seriously defective.

After reading this book you won't be thinking of how poorly the Italian forces performed in combat. But rather be amazed at what they did achieve, despite operating under handicaps more severe and limiting that those affecting any other major belligerent of the War.
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Pips
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Re: Recommended reading on Italy under Fascism 1922-1945

Post by Pips » 16 Jul 2009 16:36

Spirow, have a look at second hand book suppliers. There are many available. Addall is a good starting point.
http://used.addall.com/

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Re: Recommended reading on Italy under Fascism 1922-1945

Post by menik » 05 Aug 2009 16:37

McGregor Knox: Mussolini Unleashed, 1939-1943, Cambridge Univ. Press; 1982. About the strategical plans of Mussolini.
About the Regia Aereonautica is usefull the essay of Brian Sullivan, The downfall of the Regia Aeronautica 1933-45; pp. 135-175 (with a lot of suggestions for lectures) in: Higham and Harris (Eds), Why Air Force Fail, Univ. Press of Kentucky, 2006;
About the italian military effort from the REgio Esecito in the 43-45 in the south: Corti: The last soldiers of the king, Univ. of Missoury Press, 2003

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