Historian Jasper Ridley brings us this comprehensive biography of the man who invented fascism-Benito Mussolini, widely regarded as one of the arch villains of the twentieth century. A complex and contradictory figure, Mussolini won the fascination of many statesmen and writers...and their wives. From his early years raised in the traditions of revolutionary Italian Socialism to his violent execution by Communist partisans at the end of World War II, we watch Mussolini's power ambitions erode his political ideals as he evolves from brilliant orator and journalist to empire-building dictator enforcing his authority by death squads. A man initially admired by such Western luminaries as Winston Churchill, or underestimated as a posturing buffoon, he eventually showed his true colors as a racist and persecutor of the Jews. He sought equal stature with Hitler, but his alliance with him would prove disastrous.