Il Duce and His Women

By Roberto Olla

Translated by Stephen Parkin

ISBN: 9781846881831

496 pages

RRP: £9.99 £7.99

Out of the ruins and savagery of the Second World War, the figure of Benito Mussolini looms large as one of the most influential during the first half of the twentieth century. After his ignominious end in Piazzale Loreto, most have tried to erase the memory and the actions of the once powerful dictator, while others have made an attempt to reassess his life and works, despite the indelible legacy of death, violence and destruction he left behind.

But who was the real Benito Mussolini? Now that over sixty years of scholarship and an abundance of first-hand documents by his closest relations and his many lovers are available to the researcher, the elusive, contradictory and often misunderstood traits of his character are beginning to take shape into a more meaningful and better-defined portrait of the man, the politician and the leader.

Il Duce and His Women charts the main events in Mussolini’s private and public life, from his humble beginnings in Romagna as the son of a blacksmith to his years as the director of a leading Socialist newspaper and his irresistible rise to power, with a particular focus on his renowned appetite for women, and the lesser-known influence they had on his decision-making. The result is a riveting account that will shock and haunt the readers for a long time.

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  • Intriguing account of Mussolini’s private life.

    The Sunday Times

  • The novelty of this book is its bringing together of the facts and the myths through Mussolini’s passion for women.

    The Independent

  • A spicy tale. As an experienced journalist, Olla writes [Mussolini's] life with pace and zest.


  • A well-done and timely work.


  • An engrossing book … a fine psychological study.

    The Spectator

  • In this well-written book [Olla] has produced a vivid and absorbing description of Mussolini, which gets close to the nature of who ‘Il Duce’ was, and curiously who he wasn't.

    The Regency Magazine

  • Interspersed with vividly described anecdotes and scenes.

    The Erotic Review

  • Olla provides an absorbing account of Mussolini’s self-proclaimed manful potency and ‘animal allure’.

    Ian Thomson
    The Guardian

  • Roberto Olla's book is an illuminating biography … a rich and vivid portrait of Benito Mussolini.

    The National

  • This book offers an entertaining and informative account of [the Mussolini] myth.

    The Tablet

Roberto Olla

Roberto Olla is an award-winning writer and TV journalist. He has produced a number of internationally acclaimed history documentaries, including The Last Godfathers and Emigrants. His books include More Cherries, Please, Uncle, Combat Film and The Non-Persons: Italians in the Holocaust.