The subtitle indicates the direction of this interpretation of the Italian poet, and its most interesting part deals with his historical role as he played the part of John the Baptist to Mussolini. He prepared the way for Italian Fascism with his extreme nationalism, his excessive taste for cruelty, and his irrational posturings of grandeur. D'Annunzio as a poet is fairly well known in this country, as is his licentious libertinage as the lover of Duse, Ida Rubenstein, and the Countess Morosini, the former mistress of the German Emperor. Less well known is his dashing participation in World War I, and his notorious and ludicrous liberation of Fiume at the end of the war- an exploit which led to the first break in his friendship with Mussolino and ultimately his retreat, under guard, to his fantastic villa. Some of this material is new and has only recently come to light, and as such gives purpose to this biography which in other respects fails to convey the great, if meretricious, impact d'Annunzio had on Italian life and letters. This limits its interest for those concerned in d'Annunzio the poet, as against the man- both a ""barbarian and a decadent"".