Bold and Dangerous Family: The Rossellis and the Fight Against Mussolini

Author(s): Caroline Moorehead

Second World War

Praise for A Train in Winter: "A story of stunning courage, generosity and hope...In Moorehead's expert hands it is a triumphant one." (Mail on Sunday). Praise for Village of Secrets: "An uplifting tale of courage and morality." (The Sunday Times). Mussolini was not only ruthless: he was subtle and manipulative. Black-shirted thugs did his dirty work for him: arson, murder, destruction of homes and offices, bribes, intimidation and the forcible administration of castor oil. His opponents - including editors, publishers, union representatives, lawyers and judges - were beaten into submission. But the tide turned in 1924 when his assassins went too far, horror spread across Italy and twenty years of struggle began. Antifascist resistance was born and it would end only with Mussolini's death in 1945. Among those whose disgust hardened into bold and uncompromising resistance was a family from Florence: Amelia, Carlo and Nello Rosselli. Caroline Moorehead's research into the Rossellis struck gold. She has drawn on letters and diaries never previously translated into English to reveal - in all its intimacy - a family driven by loyalty, duty and courage, yet susceptible to all the self-doubt and fear that humans are prey to. Readers are drawn into the lives of this remarkable family - and their loves, their loyalties, their laughter and their ultimate sacrifice.


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Short-listed for Costa Biography Award 2018 (UK).

"Much has been written about life under fascist rule... But the study of a nation can never be as emotionally compelling as the study of a family... Expertly alternating vivid domestic detail with lucid exposition of the gradual evolution of totalitarianism, Caroline Moorehead allows her readers not only to know, but also to feel, how it was to endure fascist oppression... A prolific author who has always combined seriousness of purpose with a warm, human touch, she is drawn to good-hearted troublemakers... A Bold and Dangerous Family is animated by the evident admiration and affection she feels for her subjects. It feels like the book she was born to write" -- Lucy Hughes-Hallett * Guardian * "Italy's resistance to fascism and totalitarian rule was more widespread and well organised than in any other European country... Foremost among the opposition to fascism, there were two portly, bookish, Jewish brothers... Lucid, readable and superbly titled biography of the brothers... The fact that this was a family that cared about words gives Moorehead's book a richness and poise that's rare in a political biography, more novel-like than journalistic... It's hard not to feel regular little shivers of horrified contemporary recognition oat the rise of the populist demagogue Mussolini... At once a political history of pre-second world war Italy, a literary portrait of two brave young men, and a gripping tale of intrigue... I finished it impressed, breathless and enormously moved" -- Alex Preston * Observer * "The creepy description by the author of the naivety of the good and the seductive powers of the bad touches a nerve. A Bold and Dangerous Family is a haunting reminder of the fragility of liberty and the dangers of complaisance" -- Leanda De Lisle * The Times * "Caroline Moorehead... tells the story of the Rosselli brothers and their mother Amelia, a playwright, with sensitivity, erudition and balance... Her account of the final years of Carlo's life is moving. The Mussolini regime became more radical, invading Abyssinia, intervening in the Spanish civil war and aligning itself with Hitler... Moorehead's book is a fine tribute to the Rossellis, and particularly to Carlo, who might have turned into one of Italy's greatest 20th-century statesmen" -- Tony Barber * Financial Times * "Carefully, and with considerable skill, Moorehead juxtaposes the growth into maturity of the intelligent Florentines, Carlo and Nello, with a vivid account of the turbulent conditions that enabled Fascism to take root" -- Miranda Seymour * Daily Telegraph *

Caroline Moorehead is the biographer of Bertrand Russell, Freya Stark, Iris Origo and Martha Gellhorn. Her biography of Lucie de la Tour du Pin, Dancing to the Precipice, was shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award in 2009 and her most recent book Village of Secrets was a Sunday Times bestseller and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize.

General Fields

  • : 9780701188740
  • : Vintage Publishing
  • : Chatto & Windus
  • : 0.66
  • : April 2017
  • : 234mm X 153mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : June 2017
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Caroline Moorehead
  • : Paperback
  • : 617
  • : English
  • : 900
  • : 448