PULITZER PRIZE WINNER
< From National Book Award finalist David I. Kertzer comes the gripping story of Pope Pius XI s secret relations with Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. This groundbreaking work, based on seven years of research in the Vatican and Fascist archives, including reports from Mussolini s spies inside the highest levels of the Church, will forever change our understanding of the Vatican s role in the rise of Fascism in Europe. In a challenge to the conventional history of this period, in which a heroic Church does battle with the Fascist regime, Kertzer shows how Pius XI played a crucial role in making Mussolini s dictatorship possible and keeping him in power. In exchange for Vatican support, Mussolini restored many of the privileges the Church had lost and gave in to the pope s demands that the police enforce Catholic morality. Yet in the last years of his life as the Italian dictator grew ever closer to Hitler the pontiff s faith in this treacherous bargain started to waver. With his health failing, he began to lash out at the Duce and threatened to denounce Mussolini s anti-Semitic racial laws before it was too late. Horrified by the threat to the Church-Fascist alliance, the Vatican s inner circle, including the future Pope Pius XII, struggled to restrain the headstrong pope from destroying a partnership that had served both the Church and the dictator for many years.
With the recent opening of the Vatican archives covering Pius XI s papacy, the full story of the Pope s complex relationship with his Fascist partner can finally be told. Vivid, dramatic, with surprises at every turn, NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Kertzer has an eye for a story, an ear for the right word, and an instinct for human tragedy. This is a sophisticated blockbuster. Joseph J. Ellis, Pulitzer Prize winning author of <<
A fascinating and tragic story. < The New Yorker
Revelatory . . . a] detailed portrait.
The Pope and Mussolini
Random House Publishing Group
The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe
Mind, Body & Spirit /