Mussolini's Shadow The Double Life of Count Galeazzo Ciano Ray Moseley

Publication date:
18 Mar 2014
Yale University Press
314 pages:
Sales territories:

Married to Benito Mussolini’s favorite daughter Edda, young Count Galeazzo Ciano (1903–1944) became il Duce’s confidant, emissary, and heir apparent in the years preceding World War II. Appointed foreign minister in 1936, Ciano played a central role in the Axis partnership negotiations with Hitler and von Ribbentrop and masterminded Italy’s invasions of Albania and Greece. But Ciano came to disagree with his father-in-law over Italy’s partnership with Germany, and he joined with other dissident Fascists plotting to remove Mussolini from office. Ciano was found guilty of treason, and despite desperate attempts to trade his sensational diaries for his life, he was shot. This is the first biography of Ciano in English, and it is based in part on those diaries, smuggled by Edda out of the country in her own dramatic escape.

Mussolini’s Shadow peels away much of the mystery of the Fascist era, provides an eye-opening account of the ruling figures of Germany and Italy, and offers a close-up view of the daily workings of Mussolini’s regime. Count Ciano’s story is that of a highly intelligent man—but one also frivolous, arrogant, and overbearing—whose short life was characterized by espionage, intrigue, sexual scandal, assassination, and the abuse of power. As a leading player in Italy’s alliance with Germany, Ciano gambled with his own fate and with the fate of his country.

Ray Moseley is chief European correspondent for the Chicago Tribune. He has lived in Europe for many years, including five years in Rome, and he was runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize in international reporting in 1981.