From National Book Award finalist David I. Kertzer comes the gripping story of Pope Pius XI’s secret relations with Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. This groundbreaking work, based on seven years of research in the Vatican and Fascist archives, including reports from Mussolini’s spies inside the highest levels of the Church, will forever change our understanding of the Vatican’s role in the rise of Fascism in Europe.
Bologna, 1858: A police posse, acting on the orders of a Catholic inquisitor, invades the home of a Jewish merchant, Momolo Mortara, wrenches his crying six-year-old son from his arms, and rushes him off in a carriage bound for Rome. His mother is so distraught that she collapses and has to be taken to a neighbor's house, but her weeping can be heard across the city. With this terrifying scene - one that would haunt this family forever - David I. Kertzer begins his fascinating investigation of the dramatic kidnapping.
Based on a wealth of documents long buried in the Vatican archives, Prisoner of the Vatican tells the story of the Church's secret attempt to block the unification of Italy and seize control, not in ancient times, but in the late 19th century. For more than 50 years, the pope was a self-imposed prisoner within the Vatican walls, planning to flee Italy, to return only as the restored ruler of Rome and the Papal States.
"A Slice of Italian History"