Book Review: Edda, Una Tragedia Annunciata by Antonio Spinosa

Antonio Spinosa, a journalist and historian, was a very prolific writer. He published a lot of books and articles throughout his life but most of his work focuses on the various forms of dictatorship throughout history, and Fascism in particular. Unfortunately most of his books are now hard to come by and I’m not sure if all of them were even translated in English, but if you can find them, I highly recommend them. Especially his biographies on less known, but still intriguing, characters such as Edda Mussolini.

Aptly titled Edda. Una Tragedia Annunciata (An announced tragedy), the book tells the tragic life of Mussolini’s eldest daughter from her birth till the murder of her husband, Galeazzo Ciano. Edda was an independent, strong-willed, passionate and rebellious woman who was nevertheless adored by her father. Benito would say about her “I managed to subdue Italy, but I’ll never manage to subdue my daughter” and forgive her things he wouldn’t tolerate by anyone else. And these were many. For Edda was very anti-conformist, especially for the standards of her time, and lived her life the way she wanted too without caring what other people thought.

Spinosa portrays Edda as a woman with both good qualities and faults. He doesn’t idolize and defends her subject, but neither dislikes or finds unnecessary faults with her. He simply paints a very realistic and honest portrait of this controversial woman. However, even though the book is full of anecdotes about Edda and her life, most of it is actually about Mussolini and Fascism. While it is obvious that a biographer can’t talk about his subject without explaining the political and cultural situation of the time, I felt like I was reading a book about Mussolini in which Edda made her appearance every now and again.

Maybe it is due to the fact that the author didn’t have a lot of material to work on, and what he tells us is enough to understand who Edda was, but I just can’t help but think that when you write a biography, the subject needs to take center stage. I guess I just wanted more information really as I felt that some of the events in Edda’s life, such as how her relationship with her husband Galeazzo Ciano started, were quite rushed. In any case, the book is a quick read, written in a straightforward and easy to understand style that reads more like a novel at times, and I would definitely recommend it to those who want to know more about Edda Mussolini Ciano.

Edda, Una Tragedia Annunciata by Antonio Spinosa is a honest biography of a very controversial but fascinating woman. We follow Edda from her birth till the death of her husband, which her father Mussolini couldn’t or wouldn’t stop and get to know the independent, anti-conformist and strong-willed woman that she really was. However, I felt like some of the events of her life were rushed in the book, while the main part of it was dedicated to Mussolini and the historical and political situation of the time. Still, a very interesting read for anyone interested in Edda Ciano Mussolini.

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Rating: 4/5

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