Discussions on all aspects of Italy under Fascism from the March on Rome to the end of the war.
User avatar
Posts: 33963
Joined: 08 Mar 2002 22:35
Location: Europe


Post by Marcus » 18 May 2002 13:34

(click the cover)

Has anyone of you read the new Mussolini biography by R. J. B. Bosworth?
I'm thinking about buying it and I'd like to hear your comments about it.


Ken Jasper
In memoriam
Posts: 699
Joined: 03 Apr 2002 22:56
Location: Virginia

Post by Ken Jasper » 18 May 2002 14:14

I haven't read it, but thanks for bringing to my attention, I intend to order it.

Oswald Mosley
Posts: 216
Joined: 14 Mar 2002 00:56


Post by Oswald Mosley » 19 May 2002 00:04


The only biography of Mussolini I've read was one by Dennis Macksmith, a Marxist British writer. It wasn't very good, to put it mildly. He tended to exaggerate all the more sensationalist stories about the Duce and denigrate even what were undoubted achievements.
I'm also planning to buy the new biography - it does look a much more professional work.

User avatar
Posts: 32
Joined: 24 Apr 2002 17:19
Location: Mexico

Post by Turiddu » 25 May 2002 07:36

Definetly that of Mac Smith's is one of the very worst works that could be found and taken seriously...

I have no bios in English, but I know about a book from Giampiero Carocci 'Italian Fascism' which is a non fascist author, he's serious and works for the Italian Foreign Ministry

The same happens with French writters as Max Gallo... they took everything, even a single personal afiction as play the violin to talk that bad about the Duce...

I highly recomend the Renzo De Felice works on Italian Fascism, though he was not fascist but a Jew interested in this matter.
His work is also respected by fascists.

An example> he describes Italian Fascism as a 'uncomplete' totalitarian State... because the Monarchy as institution was respected.

However if I heard from one less subjective book, I shall inform you.


Posts: 1992
Joined: 26 Apr 2002 04:01
Location: Michigan, USA

Denis Mack Smith

Post by JLEES » 25 May 2002 11:29

I've read a number of books about Mussolini including two by Denis Mack Smith: Mussolini and Mussolini's Roman Empire. Whenever I've come across his name in history periodicals they speak of him and his works kindly; nowhere do they say he's a Marxist. He’s educated at Cambridge University and now teaches at Oxford. From his biography he’s written about six major books on Italian history. Where does the belief he’s a Marxist come from? What is the source that says he's strongly to the left? Because he doesn't support Mussolini does that mean he's a Marists, or by calling him a Marists does that degrade his published works? I find it interesting to read these types of comments in the year 2002. Sixty years ago whenever someone wrote something in Nazi-Germany that the regime didn't like, or a painter was Jewish or produced pieces of art that were viewed as modern art he too was simply called a Marxist. Is this too the same thing?

michael mills
Posts: 8929
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 12:42
Location: Sydney, Australia

Post by michael mills » 28 May 2002 14:42

Mussolini had himself originally been a Marxist, before the First World War. It is believed he met Lenin in Switzerland, introduced by Angelica Balabanoff. He was the editor of the Socialist Party paper "Avanti".

During the war he became more nationalist and was thrown out of the Socialist Party. When he founded the "Fasci di Combattamenti" immediately after the war, consisting of ex-servicemen, he had in mind a socialist movement that would be Italian nationalist rather than internationalist. Thus fascism was born.

In memoriam
Posts: 1588
Joined: 13 Mar 2002 01:17
Location: Houston, Texas

Post by walterkaschner » 28 May 2002 19:43

I read Denis Mack Smith's biography several years ago and still have the book (the US edition, published by Knopf in 1982). My recollection is that it was pretty unfavorable to Mussolini, but seemed to be well documented. I did not get the impression that the author was a Marxist; I don't think you have to be one to dislike Mussolini. If the Bosworth bio is more balanced perhaps I should read that one too. Is it out in paperback?

Regards, Kaschner

User avatar
Posts: 32
Joined: 24 Apr 2002 17:19
Location: Mexico

Post by Turiddu » 06 Jun 2002 14:20

Here is a link about this book ... uction.htm

Does anyone know about Jasper Ridley? I've just bought his book
Mussolini a biography in italian language.

He seems too severe against Mussolini but his work seems much better than Dennis Mac Smith.
Mac Smith judges silly things and have in his mind an a priori antifascist, so i cannot save that much of this work. He has many prejudices.
Like in Italy, the left has written the story and I think it's time for you to try to read the other side of the story, then both and try to get into a non radical point.
Who knows? perhaps one of you in this forum would be able to write a serious work? :D

best regards,

User avatar
Posts: 274
Joined: 23 Apr 2002 06:34
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: Mussolini

Post by MVSNConsolegenerale » 18 Jun 2002 03:06

I'm in the midst of it.

It is pretty good.

However it falls into a lot of the old traps. No argument about the things Mussolini did, but the authour decided that he was a coward and ANY event in his past is put in that light. Unfortunately, he stumbles a bit...because mussolini was in the only elite unit in the entire italian army...and when he mentions this and trys to downplay it it is fairly rediculous...and casts doubt on a lot of the authors other opinions.

but he does present a lot of kindof like can read through the biases.

Also, the book is much more based on mussolini's philosophical development than his day to day activities....entire periods of his life fly by because he was not being 'politically active' at the time.

Also, I did not take his comment about italians all being letchers very kindly. He doesn't say this directly...but he says several inexcusable comments about 'latin marriages'.

but as I said, a fairly good book. This is my first biography of him I'm reading completely I don't have much to compare it with.

User avatar
Posts: 32
Joined: 24 Apr 2002 17:19
Location: Mexico

Post by Turiddu » 04 Sep 2002 05:45

do you mean Bosworth's book? or Jasper Ridley's? :?

Return to “Italy under Fascism 1922-1945”