A brief, charming, and somewhat puzzling autobiography by a woman who is currently Mayor of Porto Santo Stefano. The period of the author's girlhood and youth, which her book describes, coincided exactly with Mussolini's rule in Italy, yet this is a record not of Mussolini's Italy, but of Ms. Agnelli's, in which Mussolini was a distant and symbolic participant. The author was born into the comfortable upper reaches of the Italian bourgeoisie--her grandfather had founded Fiat and grown immensely rich--yet the family had little claim to the ultimate privilege of nobility. Not that the Agnellis lacked for influence--as the author tells it, for as a girl she had the ear of Galeazzo, Mussolini's Foreign Minister, and convoys of Fiats were marshaled for her on several occasions. Yet through much of the war she worked as a nurse, first for the Red Cross, and then, later, as Italy fell, as a civilian volunteer. Though the events of Ms. Agnelli's life are fascinating, her sensibility--quick, vivid, intelligent--gives the book its genuine grace.