Mussolini's Shadow

The Double Life of Count Galeazzo Ciano
Moseley, Ray
Date published: 
October 1999

Galeazzo Ciano cuts a mysterious but exciting path through the history of fascism and of the second world war. Married to Mussolini's favourite daughter Edda, Count Ciano was appointed Italy's foreign minister in 1936, at the age of 33, and became the Duce's confidant, emissary and heir apparent. He was at the centre of negotiations with Hitler and von Ribbentrop which led to the Axis Alliance, and masterminded Italy's invasions of Albania and Greece. He later turned against Mussolini, helping to engineer his removal from office, an act for which he was shot.

This is the first biography of Ciano in English, and is based in part on the sensational diaries which Ciano sought to trade for his life and which are among the most revealing sources on the relationship between the Axis powers in the early years of the war. Smuggled out of Italy in 1943, the diaries were acquired by the AMerican master spy, Allen W. Dulles (later to become one of the first directors of the CIA) and extracted in the Chicago Daily News.

This is a multifacted tale, involving espionage, intrigue, sexual scandal, and assassination, the frantic search for Ciano's diary and Edda's dramatic escape. It peels away much of the mystery of the Fascist era, provides an eye-opening account of the ruling figures of Germany and Italy, and presents an unprecedentedly intimate account of Mussolini's regime.