4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Mussolini Under Scrutiny,
This review is from: Mussolini (Paperback)
Nicholas Farrell's 'new life' on Mussolini is indeed a refreshingly 'new' appraisal of the man, his achievements and his failures. Farrell presents Mussolini as a dictator/politician who avoided most of the excesses of dictatorship and was as a result immensely popular with the Italian people for his achievements until the last few years when fatally he dragged Italy into the war. Farrell's theory is that if, like Franco, Mussolini had kept out of the war, he would have survived, like Franco, and history would have viewed him in a much kinder light.
The book is packed with details that interest and inform, for the most part it is written in a way that compels you to turn the pages and at its best reads like a thriller, for example the chapter on The Duce's betrayal by his closest colleagues entitled 'The Last Supper'. Farrell's excellent analysis of fascism as 'The Third Way' between socialism and capitalism reveals just why it had such popular appeal in the turmoil after the first world war.
The book is bound to provoke as it shows more sympathy to the dictator than is 'politically correct' but Farrell sets out the case why logically and consistently and forces us to re-examine our viewpoint and that demonstrates the book's merits.
For myself, I agree with Churchill's analysis that Mussolini's fatal character flaw was displayed in joining forces with Hitler and also with Farrell's comments that fascism probably would have ossified and become a spent force (cf Franco's Spain).
A thoroughly enjoyable and thought-provoking read!!