An invaluable biographical account of Mussolini. Eminently readable, this book covers the early childhood of Mussolini, his political activity in the Socialist party, his adoption of Fascism and rise to power, and the wild adventure that was to bring ruin to both Mussolini and the people he ruled. Mrs. Fermi examines the entire range of Mussolini's published works, editorials, and speeches in terms of its bearing on him as a man and as a dictator. The prime weakness of Mrs. Fermi's Mussolini is her thesis that Mussolini had no ideas, that his policy, insofar as he had a policy, was to recapture the grandeur that was Rome's and satiate his ego. The fallacy of treating Mussolini's fascism as a regime and not as a doctrine is apparent if one recalls the transplantation of fascist ideas from Italy and Germany to Peron's Argentina. Nor does Mrs. Fermi adequately explain the factors which won for Mussolini fanatic popular support. Nonetheless, her book is a worthwhile attempt to understand something of the man who played so major a part in the breakdown of peace in Europe. Recommended for the general reader.