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The Ciano Diaries 1939-1943: The Complete, Unabridged Diaries of Count Galeazzo Ciano, Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, 1936-1943 [Paperback]

Hugh Gibson , Count Galeazzo Ciano , Galeazzo Ciano
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Product details

  • Paperback: 620 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Publications; Reprint edition (1 Dec 1945)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931313741
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931313742
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 16.9 x 3.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 840,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format:Paperback
Ciano was an interesting character and one of the central players in the Italian government in the first half of the Second World War. He enjoyed close relations with and the confidence of both his father in law, Mussolini and the king. As such, his diary offers fascinating insights as to the nature of the Fascist government, relations between Italy, Germany, and other nations (particularly Albania, Hungary and Romania), politics within the Italian military leadership and also, interesting observations about the leading personalities of other European nations. There is surprisingly little about military operations despite that Ciano flew operational sorties as a pilot. Taking a more realistic view of Italy's war making potential than Mussolini did and fearing a German domination of Europe, Ciano strongly opposed Italy's entry in to the war and when the war turned against the Axis, Ciano eventually lost influence and was executed at German instigation.

The translation read well, the diaries themselves contain relatively little of the less interesting personal material which characterises most diaries never intended for publication and over all, I thought a very worthwhile read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Ciano Diaries 14 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent read, well worth the money. Gives a very different perspective I can recommend it if you are interested in history
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
21 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Historically and Politically important work 13 Feb 2003
By A European Son - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
There are very few published writings by those that sat in positions of power during the period leading up to and during the Second World War that are of this personal and telling nature. This is the great difference between Ciano's Diary and the writing of the defeated or victorious from this time.
Ciano was not looking back and writing in an attempt to absolve himself of his role nor was he allowing the glow of victory to taint his recollection of events.
These sometimes seemingly shallow entries in his personal diary can allow us to view events of unfathomable consequence from his seat and without the ideological raging or gossamer thin excuses and attempts at self absolution of many other works; Albert Speer being a prime example of the latter; written by politicians or those that held office at this time.
To read this Diary in search of ideological or moral answers would be misdirected but to study this Diary and gain insight into Ciano, Mussolini and the machinations and power struggles of what was in reality a far from stable Dictatorship with an often tenuous alliance with Hitler's Reich would be to serve yourself well. This is a work that no scholar of Politics or History should overlook.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "good Fascist"? 17 Jan 2013
By ollb - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In my history readings I had seen so many mentions of, and references made to, the Ciano Diaries that I decided to see if they were available. I have not been disappointed. These diaries begin at the start of 1939 and end at Ciano's dismissal in February 1943, followed by a four-page entry written in prison in December 1943 just weeks before his execution. I've found many interesting tidbits about things largely ignored, or briefly treated, in conventional histories. Italy's nearly-bloodless takeover of Albania in 1939 is one such; her designs on Croatia, which she could not carry out until after Germany steamrolled Yugoslavia, another. Still another is the watchful eye Italy kept on Turkey, with worries about the latter's possible activities in the Balkans. Ciano seems to be simultaneously worshipful of, and skeptical of, his father-in-law Mussolini - and especially skeptical of Mussolini's policies. If there can be such a thing as a "good Fascist", Ciano may come closest to deserving the description. He is scathing in his views of Hitler, Ribbentrop, Nazidom in general, and Russia, while mostly favorably disposed toward Britain and, to a lesser extent, France. I get the impression that if he had been in charge he would not have entered the war on either side unless/until the outcome was beyond all doubt (or unless Italy was attacked). The King views things much the same way as does Ciano.
16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Offers great historical insight 23 Feb 2002
By Musetta Duplay - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Written as personal diary, this book offers a keen insight into the events leading to World War II. Count Ciano, Mussolini's son-in-law, served as his foreign minister. Ciano opposed Italy's participation in the war and disliked Hitler. Yet Ciano also has his share of faults and moments of poor judgement. Undoutedly one of the most honest books from the period. The editing is often uneven. Some material contained is trite. The last entry, when Ciano knows he willbe executed by the Fascist puppet state, is quite moving.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Has value if you understand ahead of time what you're getting 24 Dec 2011
By BillR - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the raw personal notes of Ciano-- not an historical narrative. It is well supported, but the fact that it is a diary means that it doesn't present the complete picture. Ciano notes in several places, for example, that he has recorded the details of this event or that in the official records (which may or may not be available from other sources), then records only his personal reflections that amplify the official records. In some places the descriptions are terse, and it is clear that he recorded only keys that, in a post-hostilities frame, would enable him to recall the full record of an event.

The best parallel I can think of is Cornelius Ryan's interviews with Heinrici for _The Last Battle_, in which the general progress of events was based on the official record, on Heinrici's notes from the time, and on Heinrici's personal recollections during interviews with Mr. Ryan that actually filled in the details that the cold notations of the records didn't supply. In this printing, you get only the personal notes, not the greater historical perspective or the personal recollection that would fill in the blanks-- since Ciano was shot for opposing Mussolini in the end. The book is often cited for the insight to Mussolini that it provides, but because Ciano as Foreign Minister was involved in many areas of Italian government, it provides much more value than that.

I think the diary gives unique insight for people who want to understand why Italy was such a nonentity in the early years of the war; it doesn't elaborate it completely-- the question of why Italian aeronautical technology was so backward is not even mentioned --but it does present an upper echelon view, from the Italian perspective, of why their initial disadvantages were impossible to make up. Most importantly to me, why the Italian elite could understand that their national objectives were best served through cooperation with the Allies, but their survival required alliance with Berlin, is clearly drawn out here. The humor of the German battle plan as compared with the tragedy it imposed on the rest of the world is likewise just under the surface to the educated reader. The diary further enumerates the infighting and more detailed balances required to manage creating an empire from a country that was nearly prostrate to start with.

It requires discipline to read, as do almost all published diaries, because it isn't finished prose-- it's the notes that a top-level official jotted down at the end of the day to remind him later of what happened that day. However, it provides a unique view of the politics of governing Italy and conducting foreign policy during the years 1939-1942. As Ciano is a key figure during most of time, it provides insight to the southern side of the ETO, mostly of the populations and personalities involved, that isn't easily available elsewhere.

For Ciano himself?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ciano revisited 26 Sep 2012
By Carlos G. Vieira - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was very impressed to know how unprepared was Italy to participate in WWII, and now it is easy to understand why all the disasters in Greece and North Africa campaigns. What attracted me the most reading this book is to meet the main characters of that drama almost as they were talking by themselves: Mussolini, Hitler, Goering, Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin. Not a word about Jews and the massacres in Russia. It seemed to me that Galeazzo was totally indifferent to the many thousands of Italians dead or made POW. Mussolini shows through the pages all his vanity and clearly demonstrates how a single man can move his own people to starvation and destruction just because of his huge personal ambition. Oh, yes, there are similar politicians and national leaders doing the same in our time.
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