- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 14 hours and 11 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Random House Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: January 28, 2014
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00I11P2U8
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
|New from||Used from|
Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
|Free with your Audible trial|
Customers who bought this item also bought
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
For much of the book, I struggled to keep the characters straight, since they are all names unfamiliar to me. The author helpfully placed at the front of the book a cast of characters. That would have been more helpful if I had read this in dead-tree format, but on the kindle version, it was not very practical to move back and forth between the cast of characters and the text. So, unless you are already familiar with the personalities of the Mussolini government and the Pius XI Vatican, I would recommend reading this in dead-tree version.
Pius XI's withdrawal of support of the center Catholic party, made Mussolini's reign possible, which the dictator readily acknowledged. In fact he couldn't believe his good fortune, that his chief opposition would cave. With this tacit backing, all other political parties were destroyed by the thug black shirts. Pius XI, as enabler, was more comfortable with a dictator, who like himself, demanded absolute obedience. Mussolini was "the man of Providence", to use Pius's words. Pius was happier with a dictator than he ever could be with a democrat, or anyone on the left. If the reader is uncomfortable with this idea, be forewarned, for it is very well documented.
Additionally, the author presents a very acute discussion of the difference between German and Italian attitudes towards Jews....both anti-Semetic. One, the Nazi, purely being race based; the other, the Italian, being behavior based. How all this got mixed with with nationalism, politics...and historically, with religion, is an important thread of the book. In fact, it was those same ancient (now renounced) historic sources of anti-Semitism of the RCC, which were part of what gave Mussolini legitimacy, as he used church support for his particular strain of anti-Semitism.
Church support was initially in harmony with Mussolini's own cult of the self, and then was expanded into other of his many crimes, including the unprovoked attacks on Ethiopia and Albania, the destruction of Italian democracy, not to mention the disgraceful Italian racial laws.
Throughout it all, Pius's protests seem of the trivial sort, for in truth his aim was to reestablish pre 1870 church ascendency, where there was no separation of church and state, all controlled by an all powerful RCC. It seems that this pope, like many popes before him, and Mussolini, and Hitler for that matter, had little tolerance for democracy...and the "rights of man"...which he openly ridiculed.
As Pius's doubts grew about Mussolini, we have the perspective of history to see it all blow up in his face. Kertzer follows him, as he lamely tried to undo the results of his own deeply immoral imprudences, only to be suppressed by a coterie of clerics, chief among whom was his own secretary of state, the future Pope Pius XII...the controversial Pacelli.
This is a powerful thesis, made most convincing by the thorough research to support it. There are 100 pages of footnotes. Kertzer's sources include the newly opened Vatican archives, the Italian state files of Mussolini, mistresses, family members; and diaries, correspondence, and literally thousands of pages of newspaper articles from all the key media outlets of the day, written and/or approved by the key operators.
It's an impressive work, and I think, believable. The reader will have to decide for himself or herself, for this serious attempt at an objective understanding of complex truth paints not a pretty picture of this pope, his era, and his minions. Kertzer writes in his Afterwards, that the usual Catholic conservative reaction will double down, as always, on the myth of a brave Vatican fighting against fascism. It's to be expected.
But change is afoot. I hope that Francis, with his exhortation on the poor, is taking the more democratic approach, and is interested to setting the record strait...balancing right and left...which Pius XI and XII, didn't. I hope so.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Catholicism > Popes & the Vatican
- Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Churches & Church Leadership > Church History
- Books > Christian Books & Bibles > History
- Books > History > Europe > Italy
- Books > History > World > Religious > Christianity
- Books > Religion & Spirituality