The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe by David I Kertzer was quite interesting. As Adolf Hitler gets the bulk of the attention when focusing on the atrocities of World War II, I looked forward to finding out more about Benito Mussolini. What I discovered from this book was fascinating. Kertzer has motivated me to find more on his history.

The relationship between Pope Pius X and Il Duce was a deal with the devil to say the least. Or it could be a deal OF the devils. The politics of the pontiff and the dictator could be called a marriage of convenience or just two powerful men coming to a mutualistic agreement. Regardless of how you define their collaboration… they did work together and that in itself is fascinating.

The fact that two powerful leaders who really disliked each other, put aside those differences for personal gain is a window into the truth of politics. The saying “politics makes strange bedfellows” is no more true than with these two. The book keeps you interested throughout. Even the lengthy asides that had nothing to do with the two, kept the reader interested.

by Chris Doelle