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Lead book review

From ‘divine Caesar’ to Hitler’s lapdog – the rise and fall of Benito Mussolini

Mussolini dreamed of a new Roman empire and dominion over the Mediterranean. Two decades later he was hanging by his feet in a public square, as Ian Thomson relates

2 May 2020

9:00 AM

2 May 2020

9:00 AM

Mussolini’s War: Fascist Italy from Triumph to Collapse, 1935-1943 John Gooch

Penguin, pp.532, 30

In 1919, an obscure political agitator called Benito Mussolini assembled a ragbag of Blackshirt diehards in the Lombard capital of Milan and launched the movement that was to become, two years later, the National Fascist Party. The party took its name from the classical Roman symbol of authority — an axe bound in rods, or fasces.

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