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David Kertzer: The Pope and Mussolini

Date of Lecture: February 24, 2015

About the Speaker: David Kertzer is the Dupee University Professor of Social Science, and professor of anthropology and Italian studies at Brown University. His books include "Prisoner of the Vatican" (Houghton Mifflin, 2004), "The Popes Against the Jews" (Knopf/Vintage, 2001), and "The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara" (Knopf/Vintage), a finalist for the National Book Award in 1997, which is being made into a movie by Steven Spielberg.

About the Talk: Kertzer lays out the historical context for his most recent book, "The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pope Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe," (Random House, 2014). Drawing on recently released Vatican archives and Italian Fascist archives, he reveals how Pope Pius XI granted Vatican support to Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini in exchange for restored privileges to the Church. Yet in the last years of his life—as the Italian dictator grew ever closer to Hitler—the pontiff’s faith in this treacherous bargain started to waver.

The author talk is supported by the Kraft-Hiatt Fund for Jewish-Christian Understanding and co-sponsored with the Worcester JCC.

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