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The Fall of Mussolini: Italy, the Italians, and the Second World War Paperback – June 30, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0199219346 ISBN-10: 0199219346 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 282 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (June 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199219346
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199219346
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,599,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

British historian Morgan's account of Italian society during World War II hinges on his perception that Italy has a split memory about its participation: amnesia about the years 1940-43, when it was an aggressor, and a more positive recollection of the years 1943-45, when it was a Nazi-occupied theater of war. Noting that there are monuments to victims of the latter period, and rarely to those of the former, Morgan ponders the gusts of politics and war that buffeted ordinary Italians. Those who kept their heads down when Mussolini took Italy to war could no longer temporize their allegiance after he fell from power in July 1943. This became a pressing, potentially lethal matter when Germany invaded in September 1943 and restored Mussolini to power. The recruitment demands of his regime, activities of partisans, and forced labor drafts by the Germans presented ordinary people with impossible situations. Sympathetic to on-the-ground dilemmas, Morgan rescues the traumatic period from the tendency to reduce the pressures of the time to a resister/collaborator dichotomy. For large WWII collections. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

`Review from previous edition An absorbing account of how ordinary Italians coped under the regime of a man who was both hated and revered...It is a book which will be welcomed by students of the era.' Vincent Moss, Tribune Books (Review)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Truthteller on July 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
"The Fall of Mussolini" covers the tumultuous period in Italy from roughly the removal of Mussolini from power in July 1943 (much to to the surprise of many, by then King of Italy, etc., Victor Emmanuel III, after Italy's fortunes in the war turned) to his execution in April 1945 after he returns as a puppet of the Nazi Empire in September 1943. There is, of course, explanatory material on events ocurring before July 1943 and after April 1945 but the primary focus of the book is on this brief span and an attempt to explain how it led to Italy's shift from a pre-war pro-Fascist government to a post-war democracy (after abolition of the monarchy by nationwide referendum in 1946 despite the King's abdication shortly beforehand on May 9, 1946, coincidentally almost a year to the day that Germany had surrendered).

The author's purpose is really twofold: (1) to debunk the myth generated by the Italian government(s), people, and historians after World War II that Italy was completely anti-Fascist during World War II with a resistance movement impeding and countering Mussolini's (and later Hitler's) every move; and (2) to present a social history of this turbulent period by showing the extraordinary pressures, risks, and decisions many Italians went through in an ever shifting political and military landscape.

By the time the war ended Italy was in chaos as a result not only of the military struggles and invasions on two fronts (the Germans invading to occupy northern Italy and the Allies invading southern Italy first as conquerors, then as colloborators) but also by sectional political fighting among hard-core Italian Fascists, anti-Fascist rebels, Monarchists, Communists, and others that resembled civil wars.

Overall, it is an interesting look at this aspect of World War II, particularly from the vantage point (and eyewitness accounts) of those who lived through it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Karl Bielefeldt VINE VOICE on August 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
Two things surprised me about "The Fall of Mussolini." First, very little of it was actually about Mussolini. Second, I didn't mind because the real subject of the book was so fascinating: how the Italian people coped with the extraordinary changes during the second World War.

The author possesses a keen insight into the differences between how experiences are remembered in hindsight, and how they were actually experienced at the time, supporting his ideas with page after page of well-researched anecdotes from all sides of the conflict.

Like most Americans, I presume, I knew only the public grade school version of what happened in Italy, basically only that they changed sides, without understanding any of the context, how that was even possible politically, and how the citizens dealt with such a change. This book filled in the gaps for me nicely.

My two minor quibbles about the book are that I would have liked more information on Mussolini personally, although I'm happy to leave that for another book, and that many of the individual anecdotes are not individually cited. It did make for a more conversational tone, and the author did cite general references, but in an academic work it was jarring to not see an endnote mark more often in certain places.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Fritz L. Schmidt on July 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
There is very little in this book about Mussolini. There is maybe one page on the Facsist Council meeting of July 25, 1943, and one page on his death in April 1945. Most of the book is filled with activities of the partisans and the general mood of the Italian people from the September 1943 armistice until the end of April 1945. The author recounts obscure partisan events in obscure places to make generalizations about Italy during the late war period (boring). Mussolini is at best a bit player in this book. For readers interested in learning about the fall of Mussolini and the Italian Fascist system, you will need to look elsewhere.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By richard on February 2, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
i wish the book had spent more time on the DUCE.I found mussolini a very interesting character study. my great uncle,doctor heinrich mueller,worked closely with arturo bochini and IL DUCE.if you want to read a good beginners book on IL DUCE,try reading MUSSOLINI-THE UNTOLD STORY.richard collier also wrote a good biography on mussolini. also,try reading books by the mussolini family.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E. Masser on August 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
If I had known that the author, Morgan, was an academic, I definitely would have selected a different book on this rich subject. This volume is a textbook - a dull and mediocre history of fascism. It barely mentions Benito himself, and scarcely touches the conduct of the war in Italy. Instead of the supersize picture of Mussolini on the cover, a plate of cold pasta would have been much more genuine truth in advertising. The daring Nazi rescue of Mussolini from a rocky mountaintop earns one wimpy paragraph. Pathetic.
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