A Bold and Dangerous Family: The Remarkable Story of an Italian Mother, Her Two Sons, and Their Fight Against Fascism

Caroline Moorehead. Harper, $27.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-06-230830-6
Overshadowed by the traumas of the world wars and less cinematic than the Spanish Civil War, the long struggle against fascism in Italy remains obscure and its major figures on both sides unfamiliar. Historian Moorehead (Priam’s Gold) shines light on the Rosselli family—the ill-fated brothers Carlo and Nello and their pioneering feminist mother, Amelia—to illuminate the treacherous and contradictory nature of life in Il Duce’s Italy. As Mussolini gained power, Nello, the activist firebrand, and Carlo, the reflective intellectual, became antifascists committed to “saving Italy from violent, unprincipled rule.” Interweaving the Rossellis’ personal lives with discussion of Italian political movements, intellectual currents, and the machinations of the fascists, Moorehead explores the psyche of a nation, and a family, under siege. Moorehead contends that, in the early days, “had they been united and strong, the forces of democracy might have proved a match for the fascists,” but the left was badly fractured and ill-prepared to confront squads of club-wielding goons who seemingly sprang up from nowhere. These squadristi, composed largely of “people accustomed to solving problems with violence,” took up “punitive expeditions against left-wing rallies, institutions, newspapers, and factories they considered ‘nests of subversion.’ ” As well versed in Italian socialism as she is in spy-novel tropes, Moorehead combines intellectual rigor with immersive storytelling that will appeal to specialists and casual readers alike. B+w photos. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/11/2017
Release date: 10/01/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-345-81405-0
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-274258-2
Ebook - 448 pages - 978-0-06-230832-0
Paperback - 624 pages - 978-0-06-274337-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-5384-5486-2
MP3 CD - 978-1-5384-5485-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-5384-5484-8
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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