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Mussolini by [Bosworth, Richard J. B.]
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Mussolini Kindle Edition

3.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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"The definitive study of the Italian dictator."--"Library Journal"

The definitive study of the Italian dictator. "Library Journal""

The definitive study of the Italian dictator. Library Journal"

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 5520 KB
  • Print Length: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic; 1 edition (4 Mar. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00IAQJIMM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #338,920 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
On the whole this is a good biography but is somewhat spoiled by the author's failure at times to strike the right balance between narrative (what happened) and analysis (why or how it happened or did it happen at all?). The book is full of deeply intellectual analysis but is often missing key chunks of information, which at times is quite annoying. For example, the outbreak of the Corfu crisis in 1923 is recounted but very little is told about how it ended. Again, on page 298, we learn that Mussolini gives assurances to the French that meddling in Tunisia is over. Pity that there is no reference to Tunisia prior to page 298 so we never find out what this "meddling" actually was.
There is also a slight tendency to introduce new characters out of the blue without making any real attempt to explain in detail who they were, what their background was, how they became part of the story, etc. This happens in particular with Achille Starace and Roberto Farinacci, two key figures in the Fascist hierarchy who met the same grizzly end as the Duce. Perhaps the author just assumes that you know all about them already.
In addition, I found the book irritatingly pretentious at times, with a proliferation of foreign words - not just Italian ones, which would be understandable. Is it really necessary, for example, to use the word "mentalité"? Why not just say "mentality"? Or "mindset", "way of thinking", etc? Or am I just a Philistine? And how about the following description of a photograph taken of the Duce after his execution, which shows him lying on top of his mistress with a "gagliardetto" (a sceptre-like fascist symbol) in his hand: "... he looked for a moment like a dead or deposed king, clutching hopelessly but unrepentantly to the hollow (if phallic) sceptre of power".
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Format: Paperback
This book does pretty much what you would expect, giving a thorough account of the life of a man whose importance in shaping the early twentieth century is somewhat underrated.

As a general reader, I found the level of detail to be mostly adequate and I certainly learned all that I wanted to. However, I feel that people who already have some prior knowledge of the man or Italy in this period may well find this book more suited to them (one or two events were referenced without much explanation, as though the reader should have already known the details).

Moreover, I have to agree with some of the other reviewers who said that they found the writing style tough going. Whilst I understand that the use of sophisticated vocabulary by a writer is a way of showing their intelligence/skill, in this book I personally found it too much and I not surprisingly discovered that having to look in a dictionary every few minutes was really off-putting, and consequently I was unable to 'get into' some chapters.

Of course, it does still serve perfectly well as a reference book, and I would thus recommend it to the reader with a more scholarly interest in the subject.
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Format: Paperback
This is a very readable work indeed. Well written and paced, it also treats its subject as a serious historical figure. Bosworth's Mussolini is a dynamic, forceful individual who dominates Italy for a quarter of a century, but who ultimately is lacking any clear ideology beyond the need to be the Duce. He is neither evil, nor a joke, but does, in the final test of a war that he helped start, fail utterly. I am not an expert on the period, but I found this book to be an enthralling and enlightening account of a key, if often overlooked, figure of 20th century Europe.
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Format: Paperback
Mussolini by R.J.B. Bosworth is an interesting book which offers some insights into the rise and fall of Mussolini. It shows that Mussolini was a terrible man but not as bad as some of his contemporaries and perhaps could if the Second World War had not happened could have perhaps ended up like Franco in Spain. It also dispels the view that he was an incompetent figure of ridicule by showing that while not being an intellectual he was far from a buffoon. However, the book suffers from a lack of structure in places, the mention of figures and events with no explanation as to who they were or why they occured and in places a rather pretentious tone. All in all a good book but rather wordy and a little hard-going.
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