Least of the Dictators? "Mussolini", by R.J.B. Bosworth. [review]
Richard Bosworth, in this superb biography of Italy’s Duce, is critical of ‘the great man in history’ and intentionalist approaches that vest all power, initiative and control in leaders, particularly in the case of Mussolini, a leader more driven by, and adaptive to, events than driven by them. Unlike Hitler, the Duce was impelled by no credo, his Fascism was vague, undefined and opportunistic, his politics governed not by ideology but by compromises and deals, by short-term tactics not long-term strategies and goals. Thus the man whose only consistent position until he came to power may have been virulent and vociferous anti-clericalism signed the Lateran Pact with the papacy in 1929. Bosworth would, however, agree with the young Robert Menzies that Mussolini was a charismatic leader.