The Pope and Mussolini
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 10 Sep 2014
Full Title: The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe
In 1922, Benito Mussolini and Pius XI both came to power. In the next 17 years, the two leaders and the two countries strengthened each other, and in the late 1930s the core philosophies of the two nations began to create conflicts. David Kertzer's The Pope and Mussolini provided a study of these crucial 17 years during which Vatican City's soverignty was made concrete and Mussolini's Fascist state became established. He presented the interesting fact that while the two were vastly different in personality and philosophy, they were united in their shared need to secure their power bases in the early years, shared distrust of democracy, and shared distrust of communism. To debunk the over-simplified notion that the church allowed the rise of Fascism in European, the author also provided an excellent study of how the leaders of Vatican City (including Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII) balanced topics of morality (anti-Semitism among them) and the delicate relationship between the two countries. The book contained Vatican archives information that was released to the public only in 2002, thus I found that I was learning a great deal of new information.
I had reviewed this title in its audio book format. The reader Stefan Rudnicki did a great job, clearly reading the words with good pace.
Even as one who had already viewed the Vatican as a sovereign political entity as much as a religious organization, I still found The Pope and Mussolini to be astonishing. This was a very interesting book and I had enjoyed it.
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