Mussolini in Myth and Memory: The First Totalitarian Dictator (Hardcover)

Mussolini in Myth and Memory: The First Totalitarian Dictator By Paul Corner Cover Image
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Mussolini in myth and memory. Paul Corner looks at the brutal reality of the Italian dictator's fascist regime and confronts the nostalgia for dictatorial rule evident today in many European countries.

Mussolini has rarely been taken seriously as a totalitarian dictator; Hitler and Stalin have always cast too long a shadow. But what was a negative judgement on the Duce, considered innocuous and ineffective, has begun to work to his advantage. As has occurred with many other European dictators, present-day popular memory of Mussolini is increasingly indulgent; in Italy and elsewhere he is remembered as a strong, decisive leader and people now speak of the 'many good things' done by the regime. After all, it is said, Mussolini was not like 'the others'. Mussolini in Myth and Memory argues against this rehabilitation, documenting the inefficiencies, corruption, and violence of a highly repressive regime and exploding the myths of Fascist good government. But this short study does not limit itself to setting the record straight; it seeks also to answer the question of why there is nostalgia - not only in Italy - for dictatorial rule. Linking past history and present memory, Corner's analysis constructs a picture of the realities of the Italian regime and examines the more general problem of why, in a moment of evident crisis of western democracy, people look for strong leadership and take refuge in the memory of past dictatorships. If, in this book, Fascism is placed in its totalitarian context and Mussolini emerges firmly in the company of his fellow dictators, the study also shows how a memory of the past, formed through reliance on illusion and myth, can affect the politics of the present.

About the Author


Paul Corner, Professor of European History (retired), University of Siena Paul Corner is Emeritus Professor of European History and former Director of the Centre for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes at the University of Siena. He is the author of a number of books, including The Fascist Party and Popular Opinion in Mussolini's Italy (OUP, 2012) and Popular Opinion in Totalitarian Regimes: Fascism, Nazism, Communism (OUP, 2009).


Product Details
ISBN: 9780192866646
ISBN-10: 0192866648
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication Date: December 22nd, 2022
Pages: 192
Language: English