HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe (2015)

by David I. Kertzer

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3711368,008 (4.16)11
History. Religion & Spirituality. Nonfiction. HTML:PULITZER PRIZE WINNER  ‚?Ę NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

From National Book Award finalist David I. Kertzer comes the gripping story of Pope Pius XI‚??s secret relations with Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. This groundbreaking work, based on seven years of research in the Vatican and Fascist archives, including reports from Mussolini‚??s spies inside the highest levels of the Church, will forever change our understanding of the Vatican‚??s role in the rise of Fascism in Europe.

 
The Pope and Mussolini tells the story of two men who came to power in 1922, and together changed the course of twentieth-century history. In most respects, they could not have been more different. One was scholarly and devout, the other thuggish and profane. Yet Pius XI and ‚??Il Duce‚?Ě had many things in common. They shared a distrust of democracy and a visceral hatred of Communism. Both were prone to sudden fits of temper and were fiercely protective of the prerogatives of their office. (‚??We have many interests to protect,‚?Ě the Pope declared, soon after Mussolini seized control of the government in 1922.) Each relied on the other to consolidate his power and achieve his political goals.
 
In a challenge to the conventional history of this period, in which a heroic Church does battle with the Fascist regime, Kertzer shows how Pius XI played a crucial role in making Mussolini‚??s dictatorship possible and keeping him in power. In exchange for Vatican support, Mussolini restored many of the privileges the Church had lost and gave in to the pope‚??s demands that the police enforce Catholic morality. Yet in the last years of his life‚??as the Italian dictator grew ever closer to Hitler‚??the pontiff‚??s faith in this treacherous bargain started to waver. With his health failing, he began to lash out at the Duce and threatened to denounce Mussolini‚??s anti-Semitic racial laws before it was too late. Horrified by the threat to the Church-Fascist alliance, the Vatican‚??s inner circle, including the future Pope Pius XII, struggled to restrain the headstrong pope from destroying a partnership that had served both the Church and the dictator for many years.
 
The Pope and Mussolini brims with memorable portraits of the men who helped enable the reign of Fascism in Italy: Father Pietro Tacchi Venturi, Pius‚??s personal emissary to the dictator, a wily anti-Semite known as Mussolini‚??s Rasputin; Victor Emmanuel III, the king of Italy, an object of widespread derision who lacked the stature‚??literally and figuratively‚??to stand up to the domineering Duce; and Cardinal Secretary of State Eugenio Pacelli, whose political skills and ambition made him Mussolini‚??s most powerful ally inside the Vatican, and positioned him to succeed the pontiff as the controversial Pius XII, whose actions during World War II would be subject for debate for decades to come.
 
With the recent opening of the Vatican archives covering Pius XI‚??s papacy, the full story of the Pope‚??s complex relationship with his Fascist partner can finally be told. Vivid, dramatic, with surprises at every turn, The Pope and Mussoli
… (more)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 11 mentions

English (11)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (13)
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
This was among the most disturbing books I have read. The story about the collaboration of the Papacy with Italian fascism is too long in coming. As I read these pages it made me pray for the dissolution of the papacy and the Jesuit order. You could take them along with the British Monarchy and consign them to the dustbin of history. ( )
  MylesKesten | Jan 23, 2024 |
This book challenged the accepted narrative that the Italian Catholic Church fought courageously against Mussolini and the Fascists. The author's thesis rests on newly released materials (2011) which paint Pius XI as a not so benign contributor to the rise of Fascism in Italy in the 1920's and 1930's. It began when Pius took a trip to Poland and saw how the Poles were treated by the Bolsheviks. He then was an avowed anti-communist and thought Fascism would be better than communism. Weird truce-like state between Mussolini (atheist) and Pius, which Pius came to regret and was in the process of trying to withdraw the church from this alliance when he died. The author also argues that the Italians have been very good at revisionist history, denying any alliance between the clergy and Mussolini. Great read, if you are interested in history. 592 pages ( )
  Tess_W | Oct 21, 2021 |
The Pope helped Mussolini get and keep power in return for making Catholicism mandatory in Italy, paving the way for Hitler’s rise. He wasn’t an aggressive anti-Semite, but did nothing to fight the anti-Semitism in the Catholic church, some of whose official publications in this period sound like they came straight from Goebbels. Ultimately, he seems to have felt a little bad about what he enabled, but not awfully bad (except perhaps for the fate of converted Jews who married Catholics, whose marriages he would’ve strongly preferred to recognize in contravention of the racial measures enacted under Nazi pressure). ( )
  rivkat | Oct 11, 2019 |
Emotional, impulsive, vindictive, deceptive, flexible in his convictions, an authoritarian, and a womanizer, Mussolini led the Fascists in Italy. Despite his antics, he was apparently quite popular. "What he understood, in a way that none of his predecessors had, was that people were ruled most of all by emotion, and that their reality had less to do with the external world than with the symbolic one he could fashion for them." (pg. 62)
Pope Pius XI led the Catholics. There was some similarity in their personalities and considerable overlap in their constituencies. Both held considerable distaste for liberalism, personal freedom, democracy, communism, and (of course) Jews. It would be an exaggeration to call them allies, but they supported one another, and each hoped to use the other for their own ends. This exhaustively researched history relates the conflict and cooperation between these two men and the fascinating story of their time and place in history. It's and excellent read. I recommend it. ( )
  DLMorrese | Aug 23, 2017 |
The author documents the relations of Pius XI and Mussolini in the years preceding WWII. Mussolini gave the Church control of much of the lives of Italians and the Church gave Mussolini government legitimacy as it stepped closer to Hitler, de-citizened Jews, and trampled human rights, as well as humans. It will give you some new perspectives on Catholicism, Mussolini, how WWII came about, and why Jews were so easily singled out as the target of hate. ( )
  addunn3 | Apr 9, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Epigraph
Dedication
For the three Bears
Sam, Jack, and Charlie
nipotini straordinari
From their Zaide
First words
Ailing, elderly, and having barely survived circulatory failure the previous year, Pope Pius XI begged God to grant him a few more days.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (3)

History. Religion & Spirituality. Nonfiction. HTML:PULITZER PRIZE WINNER  ‚?Ę NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

From National Book Award finalist David I. Kertzer comes the gripping story of Pope Pius XI‚??s secret relations with Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. This groundbreaking work, based on seven years of research in the Vatican and Fascist archives, including reports from Mussolini‚??s spies inside the highest levels of the Church, will forever change our understanding of the Vatican‚??s role in the rise of Fascism in Europe.

 
The Pope and Mussolini tells the story of two men who came to power in 1922, and together changed the course of twentieth-century history. In most respects, they could not have been more different. One was scholarly and devout, the other thuggish and profane. Yet Pius XI and ‚??Il Duce‚?Ě had many things in common. They shared a distrust of democracy and a visceral hatred of Communism. Both were prone to sudden fits of temper and were fiercely protective of the prerogatives of their office. (‚??We have many interests to protect,‚?Ě the Pope declared, soon after Mussolini seized control of the government in 1922.) Each relied on the other to consolidate his power and achieve his political goals.
 
In a challenge to the conventional history of this period, in which a heroic Church does battle with the Fascist regime, Kertzer shows how Pius XI played a crucial role in making Mussolini‚??s dictatorship possible and keeping him in power. In exchange for Vatican support, Mussolini restored many of the privileges the Church had lost and gave in to the pope‚??s demands that the police enforce Catholic morality. Yet in the last years of his life‚??as the Italian dictator grew ever closer to Hitler‚??the pontiff‚??s faith in this treacherous bargain started to waver. With his health failing, he began to lash out at the Duce and threatened to denounce Mussolini‚??s anti-Semitic racial laws before it was too late. Horrified by the threat to the Church-Fascist alliance, the Vatican‚??s inner circle, including the future Pope Pius XII, struggled to restrain the headstrong pope from destroying a partnership that had served both the Church and the dictator for many years.
 
The Pope and Mussolini brims with memorable portraits of the men who helped enable the reign of Fascism in Italy: Father Pietro Tacchi Venturi, Pius‚??s personal emissary to the dictator, a wily anti-Semite known as Mussolini‚??s Rasputin; Victor Emmanuel III, the king of Italy, an object of widespread derision who lacked the stature‚??literally and figuratively‚??to stand up to the domineering Duce; and Cardinal Secretary of State Eugenio Pacelli, whose political skills and ambition made him Mussolini‚??s most powerful ally inside the Vatican, and positioned him to succeed the pontiff as the controversial Pius XII, whose actions during World War II would be subject for debate for decades to come.
 
With the recent opening of the Vatican archives covering Pius XI‚??s papacy, the full story of the Pope‚??s complex relationship with his Fascist partner can finally be told. Vivid, dramatic, with surprises at every turn, The Pope and Mussoli

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Current Discussions

None

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (4.16)
0.5
1
1.5 1
2
2.5
3 6
3.5 2
4 22
4.5 3
5 16

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 202,071,918 books! | Top bar: Always visible