Edda Mussolini By Caroline Moorehead

Tobias Jones at The Guardian:

Over the course of her distinguished career, Caroline Moorehead has created an oeuvre that is varied and yet also thematically coherent. As well as writing about trailblazing women – Freya Stark, Iris Origo, Martha Gellhorn and Lucie de la Tour du Pin – she has also focused on pacifists, refugees and deportees. Her books are scholarly and readable because she always seems able to find stories that combine history and human rights, female bravery and antifascism (or else nonconformity).

Edda Mussolini is, perhaps, a subject it’s harder to warm to. Benito Mussolini’s first child with Rachele Guidi, Edda was born in 1910, and her early years were marked by poverty, beatings and instability. Her father was very often absent, either at war or at work, in prison or in hospital. On prison visits, Edda was apparently taught to hug him so that he could pass his incendiary articles to his wife. She later said of herself: “I was barefoot, wild and hungry… a miserable child.”

more here.