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A Bold and Dangerous Family

Caroline Moorehead

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 has spent time with surviving members of the Rosselli family. She has researched 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. By telling the story of this remarkable family and their ultimate sacrifice, she reveals the human cost of the horrors that befell Italy at a pivotal moment in its history.

First published:
Published by:
Chatto & Windus
Hardcover 464 pages

About the author

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. She is the author of two bestselling books on the French Resistance, A Train in Winter and Village of Secrets, which was a Sunday Times bestseller and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. She lives in London.