by Robert Mallett
London/Portland, Ore.: Frank Cass, 1998. Pp. xiv, 240.
Illus, maps, tables, gloss., append., notes, biblio., index. $26.50 paper. ISBN:0-7146-4432-3
A very readable look at changing the role and influence of the Italian Navy in Mussolini’s plans for a new Roman Empire. Mallett attempts to refute – not entirely successfully – some recent attempts to portray Mussolini’s expansionism as purely an extension of traditional Italian ambitions, and – somewhat more successfully – the notion that the Regia Marina was “apolitical” and led by “apolitical” officers. He provides an interesting insight not only into Il Duce’s objectives, but the extraordinary degree of confusion, deception, self-delusion, and irresponsibility that characterized Italian strategic and military thought under Fascism.