by Ray Moseley
Stroud, Gloucester: Sutton Publishing/Lanham, Md.: National Book Network, 2006. Pp. vi, 442.
Illus., maps, notes, biblio., index. $34.95. ISBN:0-7509-4449-8
On one level, this very readable,
detailed work is an excellent biography of Mussolini from September of 1943
through his death in April of 1945. It
deals with the full range of Il Duce’s life
and activities during this period, including his relations with his family and
mistress, as well as his political interactions with Hitler and his own
henchmen. As necessary, the book
includes occasional retrospective looks at earlier events and actions, to set
the period under study question into better perspective.
The author, a journalist who wrote an
excellent biography of Mussolini’s son-in-law and sometime foreign minister
Galeazzo Ciano, draws upon Il Duce’s letters
and conversations, to probe his thoughts at various times, often with
surprising results. This alone would
make it a valuable book, but there’s more.
Wrapped around the story of Mussolini’s
final 20 months, Moseley provides a solid account of the brutal partisan
fighting that raged behind the lines from the surrender of Italy to the
Allies to the collapse of European Axis.
Thus, The Last Days of Mussolini is
also the best account in English of what was the most bitter resistance
movement in western Europe, in which literally tens of thousands of people died
from combat, atrocities, and privation.
A very good book for anyone interested
in World War II in Europe, the resistance, and, of course, Il Duce.