Book Review: The Last Days of Mussolini

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by Ray Moseley

Stroud, Gloucester: Sutton Publishing/Lanham, Md.: National Book Network, 2006. Pp. vi, 442. Illus., maps, notes, biblio., index. $34.95. ISBN:0-7509-4449-8

On one level, this very readable, detailed work is an excellent biography of Mussolini from September of 1943 through his death in April of 1945.  It deals with the full range of Il Duce’s life and activities during this period, including his relations with his family and mistress, as well as his political interactions with Hitler and his own henchmen.  As necessary, the book includes occasional retrospective looks at earlier events and actions, to set the period under study question into better perspective.

The author, a journalist who wrote an excellent biography of Mussolini’s son-in-law and sometime foreign minister Galeazzo Ciano, draws upon Il Duce’s letters and conversations, to probe his thoughts at various times, often with surprising results.  This alone would make it a valuable book, but there’s more. 

Wrapped around the story of Mussolini’s final 20 months, Moseley provides a solid account of the brutal partisan fighting that raged behind the lines from the surrender of Italy to the Allies to the collapse of European Axis.  Thus, The Last Days of Mussolini is also the best account in English of what was the most bitter resistance movement in western Europe, in which literally tens of thousands of people died from combat, atrocities, and privation. 

A very good book for anyone interested in World War II in Europe, the resistance, and, of course, Il Duce.

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   


Buy it at Amazon.com




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