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About the Author

Caroline Moorehead is the biographer of Bertrand Russell, Freya Stark, Iris Origo and Martha Gellhorn. Her books include Human Cargo: A Journey among Refugees, Dancing to the Precipice, A Train in Winter, and Village of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France. (Bowker Author Biography)


Obras por Caroline Moorehead

Martha Gellhorn: A Life (2003) 264 exemplares
Selected Letters of Martha Gellhorn (2006) — Editor — 127 exemplares
Bertrand Russell: A Life (1992) 69 exemplares
The Lost Treasures of Troy (1994) 63 exemplares
Freya Stark (1985) 41 exemplares

Associated Works

999: The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz (2019) — Prefácio, algumas edições269 exemplares
A Stricken Field (1940) — Prefácio, algumas edições141 exemplares
Granta 115: The F Word (2011) — Contribuidor — 113 exemplares
Van Gogh, The life and work of the artist illustrated with 80 colour plates (1966) — Tradutor, algumas edições68 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum

Nome canónico
Moorehead, Caroline
Data de nascimento
Local de nascimento
London, England, UK
Locais de residência
London, England, UK
University of London (BA|1965)
human rights advocate
book reviewer
Index on Censorship
British Institute of Human Rights
Royal Society of Literature
Society of Authors
English PEN
London Library
Prémios e menções honrosas
Order of the British Empire (Officer, 2005)
Royal Society of Literature (Fellow)

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Caroline Moorehead was born in London and earned a bachelor's degree from the University of London in 1965. She is has written biographies of Bertrand Russell, Heinrich Schliemann, Freya Stark, Iris Origo, Martha Gellhorn, and aristocrat Lucie de la Tour du Pin. She also has written a number of nonfiction pieces centered on human rights, including a history of the International Committee of the Red Cross. She began a trilogy of books on the French Resistance in World War II with A Train in Winter (2011) which focuses on 230 French women of the Resistance sent to Auschwitz. Village of Secrets (2014) describes a wartime French village that helped 3,000 Jews to safety.

She has also written book reviews for various newspapers and reviews, including the Times Literary Supplement, The Telegraph, The Independent, The Spectator, and The New York Review of Books. She specialized in human rights as a journalist, contributing a column first to the Times and then the Independent, and co-producing and writing a series of programs on human rights for BBC television.

She has served on the committees of the Royal Society of Literature, of which she was elected a Fellow in 1993; the Society of Authors; English PEN; and the London Library. She was awarded an OBE for services to literature in 2005.



A riveting and fascinating biography of Benito Mussolini’s eldest daughter and favourite child, Edda.

The subtitle declares Edda to have been “The Most Dangerous Woman in Europe” and it’s worth pondering that for a moment. It’s a phrase that the author quotes from a newspaper, not her own opinion. Fascist ideology came with a conservative social mindset that wanted women to obey men, just as men should obey the state, and in the end everything and everyone served the Duce. As daughter of the dictator and wife of foreign minister Ciano, Edda was in the same position as the Roman ladies of old — she wielded influence, not power. Edda didn’t attempt to lead any political organisation. Caroline Moorehead describes how the dictator’s wife Rachele followed the lead of many second-tier fascists and ran her own network of spies and informers; not so Edda. There isn’t any suggestion that Edda set out to build a serious political network, or that she tried to read the official papers that her husband may or not have brought home. Edda did her best to safeguard Ciano’s professional diaries, and used them to secure her survival and make money, but Moorehead doesn’t mention Edda actually reading them, or what she thought of them. Edda was a social go-between, and when she travelled the distance between Hitler and Mussolini, she was important as such. But the evidence, to my mind, backs up her own claim that she was politically naive.

Her life played out as a tragedy in four acts.

First Act: A rather unhappy childhood in an at least initially poor family. Edda was the unwilling witness of the quarrels between her parents, as Benito Mussolini was a bad husband and father, serially adulterous and often absent, and the practically minded Rachele wasn’t inclined to back down. Moorehead’s sketch of the times gives more insight in the world of her parents, than that of the child, but this is inevitable.

Second Act: The zenith of Italian fascism, in which Benito covered the streets in monuments to and statues of himself, the new elites shamelessly enriched themselves through corruption, dissidents were thrown in jail, and the Duce decreed that there should be no mention in the press of his age and birthdays, outbreaks of disease, unhappiness, bad weather, or women in trousers. Edda accordingly lived a rich and privileged life, but Moorehead’s description doesn’t render it as a particularly happy life. As a husband, Galeazzo Ciano became a disappointment, and Edda would have divorced him if her father had not decided that adultery wasn’t grounds for divorce. (Of course he would have looked ridiculous if he had.) At least Ciano didn’t seem to mind Edda’s numerous affairs either, which suggests that he was less attached to double standards than most Italian men of his time. The son-in-law’s obsequiousness to the whims of the Duce annoyed his wife, who was far more independently minded. But she did play out her diplomatic role as she was sent out to improve relations with Berlin. The main story that is told in this book is one of decadence, nouveau riches mixing with impoverished aristocrats, heavy gambling, and malign gossip.

Third Act: Italy’s participation in WWII, which demonstrated the folly of spending all your money on marble and foreign adventures, instead of on building your (war) industry. Here Edda is presented as more naive than her husband, and a true believer in the victory of the Axis, while Ciano understood early on that this adventure was going to end very badly. In these chapters of the book, it must be said, it is clear that Moorehead is no military historian. The author adopts a dismissive attitude to the Italian war effort that has been corrected by the efforts of more recent historians who have documented that the Italians, though poorly equipped and badly led, often fought bravely and contributed more to the successes of the Axis than they usually get credit for. There are also some blunders in detail. But there is no denying that the writing was on the wall early on, and Edda seems to have respected the determination of Ciano to find a way out, which contributed to Mussolini’s fall in 1943. And which of course, eventually cost Ciano his life, as he was shot on 7 January 1944.

Fourth Act: Edda’s life on the run, initially as a rather unwelcome guest of the Swiss, but arguably continuing even after she was allowed to return to Italy, and soon enough allowed to freely choose her place of residence again. This is the part of her life in which Edda needed to fend for herself and her three children, as her husband was dead and her father soon would be. It’s true cloak-and-dagger stuff, full of narrow escapes and bizarre negotiations. Edda tried to use Ciano’s diaries as leverage, offering them in turn to the SS and the OSS. It is an enticing story but this account of so many illicit manoeuvres can be a bit confusing, and as a reader you have to wonder whether it is really all true, or some of it is part of the many myths and legends of the period. But Edda survived, if not without difficulty. She didn’t spend that much time in detention and much of it was fairly gentle: In hotels, in convents, in a luxury mental hospital, on an island. It was hardship for someone who had gotten accustomed to money and comfort, but a better life than many Italians had in a bombed-out, shot-up and impoverished country. And until her death in 1995, she lived out her life in peace.

“Illusion is perhaps the only reality in life,” Moorehead quotes a young Benito Mussolini at the end of the book. The years of fascism were years of mutual illusion, during which the people thought that they had a strong and wise leader, and the leader thought that he had obedient and martial people. In this biography, it is laid out in detail Edda’s relationships with the two most important men in her life were likewise founded on illusions. But somehow her bonds with her husband grew deeper and stronger in times of danger and hardship, while those with her father were shattered beyond repair. Nevertheless Edda never stopped believing in the myth of her father. Her personal tragedy didn’t mirror that of her nation, as she had a too strong personality for that, but Moorehead’s biography of Edda nevertheless reads like rich and illuminating account of the times.
… (mais)
EmmanuelGustin | 2 outras críticas | May 18, 2024 |
I am finishing this book on Holocaust Remembrance Day, 2023, 80 years after the events recounted in this book.

This book is largely about one group of victims of the German occupation of France: some 249 women who fought silently for the French Resistance and who were given up by snitches and collaborator French police to the German SS.

Tortured by their captors, eventually shipped off to Birkenau concentration camp, many to die from abuse, starvation, or disease. Many murdered by murderers.

But this book is also about how France reacted to occupation by the Nazis. The new French government, among other things, banned abortion and condoned the burning of books. They did the dirty work of identifying and collecting French and other Jews for destruction in the death camps.

I am always shocked the brutality of the era.
… (mais)
MylesKesten | 54 outras críticas | Jan 23, 2024 |
The most unbelievable part of this true story is that even one of these women survived at all. Members of the French Resistance, these women were betrayed, rounded up, and deported -- to Auschwitz. They showed unbelievable courage in the face of unspeakable cruelty. Caroline Moorehead does an admirable job in immersing us in the world of the resistance fighter and the hardships once they were "transported east". Hard to read, but even harder to put down.
tvemulapalli | 54 outras críticas | Jan 22, 2024 |



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