Edda Mussolini was Beniro’s favorite daughter: spoiled and venal, uneducated but clever, faithless but flamboyant, a brilliant diplomat, wild but brave, and, ultimately, strong and loyal.
She was her father’s confidante during the twenty years of Fascist rule, acting as envoy to both Germany and Britain, and playing a part in steering Italy to join forces with Hitler. From her early twenties Edda was effectively first lady of Italy. She married Galeazzo Ciano, who would become the youngest foreign secretary in Italian history, and they were the most celebrated and glamorous couple in elegant, vulgar Roman Fascist society.
Their fortunes turned in 1943, when Ciano voted against Mussolini in a plot to bring him down, and Il Duce did not forgive him. In a dramatic story that involves hidden diaries, the dictator’s fall, Ciano’s execution, an escape into Switzerland, and a period in exile, we come to know a complicated, bold, and determined woman who emerges not just a witness but also as a key player in some of the twentieth century’s defining moments.