Drawing on freshly discovered material–including correspondence previously unavailable outside academia–the talented writer and journalist Nicholas Farrell has created a revelatory biography of the Italian fascist leader and dictator. How did Mussolini manage to take power and hold on to it for two decades? What inspired Churchill to call him ’the Roman genius’ and Pope Pius XI to say he was ‘sent by Providence’? And how did Mussolini successfully curtail democracy without using mass murder to stay in command? Farrell answers these questions and more, focusing particularly on Mussolini’s fatal error: his alliance with Hitler, whom he despised. Anyone interested in history, politics, and World War II will encounter an intriguing and startling picture of one of the 20th century’s key figures.