In This Review

Mussolini
Mussolini
By Anthony James Joes
Franklin Watts, 1982, 405 pp
Mussolini
Mussolini
By Anthony James Joes
Franklin Watts, 1982, 405 pp

The two books, by odd coincidence appearing simultaneously, demonstrate the range of views on Mussolini and the multiplicity of historical genres. Joes strives for a portrait and achieves an intelligent, partisan essay, with remarkable detachment from the bulk of scholarship. He sees "Italian socialism as the prime cause of the success of the Fascists," he plays down the violent character of Mussolini's nature and rule, sees the end of fascism as premature, and believes that Mussolini's fascism has left a live legacy for Third World countries today. Mack Smith, probably the foremost British historian of Italy, has written a masterly life of Mussolini, once the idol of most Italians and, in defeat, the great villain. In this scholarly and elegant work, Mack Smith discusses the young socialist, the early fascist, and the brutal, indecisive, and megalomaniacal dictator in wartime. Joes contributes a polemical edge, Mack Smith a dispassionate, enduring work.