The Perfect Fascist: A Story of Love, Power, and Morality in Mussolini's Italy (Paperback)

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A New Statesman Book of the Year

"Reveals how ideology corrupts the truth, how untrammeled ambition destroys the soul, and how the vanity of white male supremacy distorts emotion, making even love a matter of state."
--Sonia Purnell, author of A Woman of No Importance

"The brilliance of de Grazia's book lies in the way that she has made a page-turner of Teruzzi's chaotic life, while providing a scholarly and engrossing portrait of the two decades of Fascist rule."
--Caroline Moorhead, Wall Street Journal

"Extraordinary...illuminates the ways in which the all-consuming nature of fascism distorted Italian society and destroyed the lives of individuals. I could not put it down."
--Margaret MacMillan, author of Paris 1919

When Attilio Teruzzi, a decorated military officer, married a rising American opera star, his good fortune seemed settled. The wedding was capped with a blessing by Mussolini himself. Yet only three years later, the early convert to the Fascist cause, now commander of the Black Shirts, renounced his wife. Lilliana was Jewish, and fascist Italy would soon introduce its first race laws.

The Perfect Fascist pivots from the intimate story of a tempestuous courtship and inconvenient marriage to the operatic spectacle of Mussolini's rise and fall. It invites us to see in the vain, unscrupulous, fanatically loyal Attilio Teruzzi an exemplar of fascism's New Man. De Grazia's landmark history shows how the personal is always political in the fascist quest for manhood and power. In his self-serving pieties and intimate betrayals, his violence and opportunism, Teruzzi was a forefather of the illiberal politicians of today.


Product Details
ISBN: 9780674271067
ISBN-10: 0674271068
Publisher: Belknap Press
Publication Date: March 22nd, 2022
Pages: 528
Language: English