Richard J.B. Bosworth (2002)

I’ve wanted to read a biography of Mussolini for a while, and this one is very good. A reviewer quote on the cover describes it as “lucid, elegant, and a pleasure to read,” and I’d have to agree. It’s somewhat more “literary” than some biographies, and as a result doesn’t always cover the historical context as well as one might like: the author’s description of the March on Rome, for example, is extremely brief despite it’s significance for Mussolini’s rise. In this way it’s not like many Hitler biographies (for example Hitler or Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives) which are as much about events as personality. One also has to get past the author’s repetition of words like “euphonious” and “lucubrations”, which get tiresome after a while. Having said all that, this is an excellent biography, full of insight and pointers to other sources (with over 80 pages of footnotes), and is a good overview to the career of someone often written off too quickly.

4/5. Finished Wednesday 10 July, 2013.

(Originally published on Goodreads.)