A Bold and Dangerous Family

A Bold and Dangerous Family : The Remarkable Story of an Italian Mother, Her Two Sons, and Their Fight Against Fascism

3.73 (122 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 2 business days
When will my order arrive?


A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice

The acclaimed author of A Train in Winter and Village of Secrets delivers the next chapter in "The Resistance Quartet": the astonishing story of the aristocratic Italian family who stood up to Mussolini's fascism, and whose efforts helped define the path of Italy in the years between the World Wars--a profile in courage that remains relevant today.

Members of the cosmopolitan, cultural aristocracy of Florence at the beginning of the twentieth century, the Rosselli family, led by their fierce matriarch, Amelia, were vocal anti-fascists. As populist, right-wing nationalism swept across Europe after World War I, and Italy's Prime Minister, Benito Mussolini, began consolidating his power, Amelia's sons Carlo and Nello led the opposition, taking a public stand against Il Duce that few others in their elite class dared risk. When Mussolini established a terrifying and brutal police state controlled by his Blackshirts--the squaddristi--the Rossellis and their anti-fascist circle were transformed into active resisters.

In retaliation, many of the anti-fascists were arrested and imprisoned; others left the country to escape a similar fate. Tragically, Carlo and Nello were eventually assassinated by Mussolini's secret service. After Italy entered World War II in June 1940, Amelia, thanks to visas arranged by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt herself, fled to New York City with the remaining members of her family.

Renowned historian Caroline Moorehead paints an indelible picture of Italy in the first half of the twentieth century, offering an intimate account of the rise of Il Duce and his squaddristi; life in Mussolini's penal colonies; the shocking ambivalence and complicity of many prominent Italian families seduced by Mussolini's promises; and the bold, fractured resistance movement whose associates sacrificed their lives to fight fascism. In A Bold and Dangerous Family, Moorehead once again pays tribute to heroes who fought to uphold our humanity during one of history's darkest chapters.

A Bold and Dangerous Family is illustrated with black-and-white photographs.
show more

Out of ideas for the holidays?

Visit our Gift Guides and find our recommendations on what to get friends and family during the holiday season. Shop now .

Product details

  • Hardback | 448 pages
  • 161 x 235 x 38mm | 658g
  • English
  • Illustrations, unspecified
  • 0062308300
  • 9780062308306

Back cover copy

Mussolini was not only ruthless; he was subtle and manipulative. Black-shirted thugs did his dirty work for him: arson, murder, destruction of homes and offices, bribery, and intimidation. His opponents--including editors, publishers, union representatives, lawyers, and judges--were beaten into submission. But the tide turned in 1924, when his henchmen went too far; horror spread across Italy, and twenty years of struggle began. Anti-fascist resistance was born and it would end only with Mussolini's death in 1945. Among those whose disgust hardened into bold and uncompromising resistance was a family from Florence: Amelia, Carlo, and Nello Rosselli.

In A Bold and Dangerous Family, Caroline Moorehead draws on letters and diaries never previously translated into English to reveal, in all their intimacy, a family driven by loyalty, duty, and courage, yet susceptible to all the self-doubt and fear to which humans are prey. Readers will be drawn into the lives of this remarkable family--and their loves, their loyalties, and their ultimate sacrifice.
show more

Review quote

"An intimate family portrait.... Moorehead has done us a great service in restoring the humanity of the Rosselli family.... It's the most complete portrait we have in English of this extraordinary family fighting--each in his or her own way--the most pernicious ideology of the last century."--New York Times Book Review
show more

Rating details

122 ratings
3.73 out of 5 stars
5 27% (33)
4 34% (42)
3 25% (31)
2 11% (14)
1 2% (2)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X