Catalogue

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The woman who shot Mussolini /
Frances Stonor Saunders.
imprint
London : Faber, 2010.
description
viii, 375 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0571239773 (hbk.), 9780571239771 (hbk.)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
London : Faber, 2010.
isbn
0571239773 (hbk.)
9780571239771 (hbk.)
catalogue key
7134765
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 331-365) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
A passionate and witty book about a brave, tragic woman condemned to oblivion, by the author of the bestselling Hawkwood.7 April 1926: on the steps of the Capitol in Rome, surrounded by chanting Fascists, the Honourable Violet Gibson raises her revolver and fires at the Italian head of state, the poster-boy of the European Right and darling of the British ruling class. The bullet narrowly misses the dictator’s bald head, hitting him in the nose. Of all his would-be assassins, she came closest to changing the course of history. What had brought her to this moment? She was the daughter of an important Anglo-Irish peer, born to privilege and ease. Her family was Protestant, Unionist and conservative. She should have married into the aristocracy and lived the life that women of her milieu were expected to lead. Yet terrible unhappiness lurked beneath that glittering surface. She was a serious-minded young woman in an age when girls were meant to think as little as possible and to avoid intellectual or political excitement. Her spiritual quest brought her to a kind of left-wing Catholicism and to sympathy for Irish nationalism, to the horror of her family who exacted a severe emotional cost from her for her rebellion. And she fell in love with Italy, and watched as Mussolini’s thugs took it into the moral cesspit of Fascism. She felt she had to act.But Violet Gibson, unlike Hitler’s attempted assassins, never received the smallest recognition for her gesture. She was merely a ‘mad woman’, or judged to be so by a world that then thought Mussolini perfectly sane. She was confined to a lunatic asylum after a ten-minute interview with a society doctor, condemned without trial to a whole-life sentence without parole. She died in 1956. Her letters to friends languished unsent, and she never had a chance of being released, even after Mussolini declared war on Britain. Frances Stonor Saunders’ unforgettable and compulsively readable book rescues this gentle, driven woman from a silent void and restores her dignity and purpose.
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Guardian UK, February 2010
The Times (London), February 2010
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
7 April 1926: on the steps of the Capitol in Rome, surrounded by chanting Fascists, The Honourable Violet Gibson raises her old revolver and fires at the Italian head of state. Of all his would-be assassins, she came closest to changing the course of history. This book looks at what brought her to this moment.
Main Description
7 April 1926: on the steps of the Capitol in Rome, surrounded by chanting Fascists, The Honourable Violet Gibson raises her old revolver and fires at the Italian head of state, the darling of Europe’s ruling class. The bullet narrowly misses the dictator’s bald head, hitting him in the nose. Of all his would-be assassins, she came closest to changing the course of history.What brought her to this moment? She was the daughter of an Anglo-Irish lord, had once consorted with royalty and the peerage. Yet terrible unhappiness lurked beneath that glittering surface. She was a serious-minded young woman in an age when girls were meant to marry well and think little. Her spiritual quest took her to a kind of left-wing Catholicism, sympathy for Irish nationalism and a passionate love for Italy. When Mussolini’s thugs took it into the moral cesspit of Fascism, she felt she had to act.She paid for it for the rest of her life, confined to a lunatic asylum, like other difficult women of her class. Frances Stonor Saunders’ moving and compulsively readable book rescues this gentle, driven woman from a silent void and restores her dignity and purpose

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