Books: De-Caesarizing Benito

MUSSOLINI (304 pp.)—Paolo Monelli—Vanguard ($4).

On Oct 29, 1922, Benito Mussolini was called to office as Head of the Government of Italy. "Excuse my appearance," the new boss told King Victor Emmanuel, "but I come from the battlefield." Mussolini referred to his Fascist Party black shirt, not the striped pants ("too long and tight") or the frock coat ("sleeves . . . too short") which he had borrowed from his pals. As for his "battlefield," this, too. was the property of friends: it was they who had made the historic "March on Rome" the preceding day, while Leader Mussolini stayed snug in...

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