Tobias HofNov 2, 2021
The Fascist Pretender
University of Toronto Press 2021
He was the son of a prominent politician, Benito Mussolini’s son-in-law, and viewed by many as the Duce’s likely successor, only to die before a fascist firing squad near the end of the Second World War. In Galeazzo Ciano: The Fascist Pretender (U Toronto Press, 2021), Tobias Hof examines Ciano’s career for the many insights it has to offer into Italian fascism and Italian politics during the years of its dominance. As Hof explains, Ciano benefited considerably both from his father Costanzo’s political connections during the early part of his career and from his 1930 marriage to Mussolini’s daughter Edda. During the 1930s Ciano enjoyed a rapid ascent to high office, which fueled the belief that he was being groomed to succeed his father-in-law. Yet Hof demonstrates how Ciano’s positions and bourgeois public persona often were at odds with the views of committed fascists, and that he enjoyed little support from either the monarchy or the Catholic Church. Instead, Ciano found himself increasingly marginalized once Italy entered the war in 1940, while his vote to oust Mussolini from his position as prime minister led to his trial and execution less than a year later.