TWENTIETH CENTURY CAESAR: Benito Mussolini by Jules Archer


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Mr. Archer has done a very difficult job well. In order to present a biography of Mussolini to younger readers, he faced the necessity of having to teach history as well as to delineate his subject and he is more then adequate to his task. If the bibliographies of teaching units in current history at the high school level give a true picture of course content, the role of Mussolini, and through him that of Italy, in W.W.II, is more or less ignored next to the enormities of Hitler's regime. This book reveals the economic, political and psychological conditions that existed under Mussolini while showing how the man got that way. The change from dedicated Socialist to posturing fascist was as gradual as it was complete. This become clear in Mr. Archer's record. Mussolini's ability to bluff, his willingness to play the hypocrite, both within his family circle and in his international ties, is well analyzed. The only unfortunate part of book is at the beginning where a stagily drawn boyhood incident sets the revelatory scene for the man and the country. The appetite for reading about the villainous figures of W.W.II is an established fact at the adult level. There is nothing to indicate that this appetite does not reach down and here is a substantial book to meet it.

Pub Date: Oct. 19th, 1964
Publisher: essner