First published as a series in the Corriere della Sera newspaper from June to July 1944, and then published as a book with the title Storia di un anno: Il tempo del bastone e della carota, in Milan the same year, this work is Mussolini’s autobiographical account, written in the third person, of the dramatic events—as he experienced them—from the time of the Battle of El Alamein until his rescue and reinstatement as leader of German-occupied Italy.
It starts with a gripping recounting of the reasons for the first major Axis defeats in North Africa, the invasions of Sicily and mainland Italy by the Allies, and then moves on to discuss in detail the Grand Fascist Council meeting of July 1943—where Mussolini was deposed as leader by his own Fascist party and placed under arrest. It then describes his various phases of arrest and imprisonment, ending that section with a full description of his legendary rescue by German commandos under Colonel Otto Skorzeny from his Gran Sasso mountaintop hotel-prison.
Along the way, Mussolini reveals intimate details of internal Fascist party government meetings, his strained relations with the Italian king, and all the betrayals and backstabbing by formerly loyal colleagues once the war had turned against the Axis Powers.
The original series of articles appeared in the Corriere della Sera without a byline, although it soon became obvious who the author was. Mussolini acknowledged writing the articles with the first appearance of the book version in a foreword which is reproduced here as well. The Italian version sold hundreds of thousands of copies in northern Italy in the first year of its publication, and Mussolini was awaiting a French translation at the time of his execution by Communists in 1945.
Along with his 1928 book My Life, the Story of a Year makes up the complete set of Mussolini’s autobiography, and is essential reading for anyone wishing to gain an understanding of this tumultuous period of modern history.
This new edition has been completely reset and newly-illustrated. It also contains a timeline of Mussolini’s life to aid the present-day reader in contextualizing the events it describes.