As Mussolini's daughter and the wife of Galeazzo Ciano, the Duce's Foreign Minister and heir apparent, Edda has a tough job vindicating both her father and her husband. Papa, after all, allowed the execution of the ""traitor"" Ciano despite Edda's pleas and threats. But Edda does show the kind of steely mettle that neither brother Vittorio: (Mussolini, 1973) nor mama Rochele (Mussolini, 1974) display in their sugar-coated memoirs of Benito en famille. Even before her marriage, Edda allows that life with Father was a mixed blessing though he was a ""poetic, tolerant and affectionate parent."" Conceding that the Duce and Ciano differed sharply on ""questions of foreign policy""--i.e., on Italy's readiness for Hitler's big war--Edda nevertheless insists that her husband's 1943 vote on the Grandi Motion in the Fascist Inner Council (a vote of no confidence in Mussolini) was not a repudiation of her father. She blames Clara Petacci's relatives, the perfidious Germans, and the ""Fascist extremists"" for Galeazzo's death by firing squad. In any case, after Mussolini's ""rescue"" by the Germans he was their captive and though Edda fought ""tooth and nail,"" Ciano could not be saved. The Germans reneged on their promise to swap Galeazzo's life for his diaries--the most detailed documents of Italy under Mussolini's blustering rule. She writes the cold flinty prose of embitterment, and memories of a ""charming boat ride"" with Hitler do nothing to brighten matters. That Edda still believes that Fascism was ""the best government Italy ever had"" should surprise no one.