Prisoner of the Vatican: The Popes, the Kings, and Garibaldi's Rebels in the Struggle to Rule Modern Italy

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Feb 1, 2006 - History - 357 pages
6 Reviews
Praise for David Kertzer and Prisoner of the Vatican:

"Kertzer once again proves himself a truly compelling historian." -- André Aciman

"Prisoner of the Vatican reads like exciting fiction. And it has astounding contemporary relevance." -- Alfred Uhry

"Kertzer’s careful scholarship and lucid writing make the human character of this religious institution quite clear." -- James Carroll

"Fascinating." -- Entertainment Weekly

"Lively . . . filled with telling anecdotes and colorful descriptions of the various characters involved in the struggle." -- America, the National Catholic Weekly

"Riveting and fast-paced . . . history writing at its best." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

"[A] rousing tale . . . from a masterful, controversial scholar." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"A chilling and timely warning of what happens when religious power becomes synonymous with political power. If you love Italy, if you love Rome, this book is essential reading." -- John Guare

"As magically spellbinding as it is enlightening, replete with colorful characters and complex international and ecclesiastical politics and intrigue. Kertzer is a national treasure and his latest book another masterpiece." -- Kevin Madigan, associate professor, Harvard Divinity School

"This book is a gift to everyone who welcomes the emergence of buried history, and a boon to anyone who has ever wondered about the origins of the wonderful, tenuously unified place called modern Italy." -- Tracy Kidder

David Kertzer’s absorbing history presents an astonishing account of the birth of modern Italy and the clandestine politics behind the Vatican’s last stand in the battle between church and the newly created Italian state. Drawing on a wealth of secret documents long buried in the Vatican archives, Kertzer reveals a fascinating story of outrageous accusations, mutual denunciations, raucous demonstrations, and secret dealings.

When Italy’s armies seized the Holy City and claimed it for the Italian capital, Pope Pius IX, outraged, retreated to the Vatican and declared himself a prisoner, calling on foreign powers to force the Italians out of Rome. The action set in motion decades of political intrigues that hinged on such fascinating characters as Garibaldi, King Viktor Emmanuel, Napoleon III, and Chancellor Bismarck. No one who reads this eye-opening book will ever think of Italy, or the Vatican, in quite the same way again.

"A gripping account of this little-known story." -- Washington Post

“A suspenseful and even captivating read . . . Kertzer illuminates one of history’s darker corners.” -- Providence Journal

"Extraordinary . . . Kertzer describes intrigue, spying, disinformation, and public relations campaigns worthy of any contemporary spy novel." -- Seattle Times

David I. Kertzer is author of several illuminating works of history, including The Popes Against the Jews and The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, a National Book Award finalist. A professor of anthropology and Italian studies at Brown University, he lives in Providence, Rhode Island.
  

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Review: Prisoner of the Vatican: The Popes, the Kings, and Garibaldi's Rebels in the Struggle to Rule Modern Italy

User Review  - Mary - Goodreads

This is an interesting bit of history. It's a bit more detailed than it needed to be and the central thesis gets lost from time to time. Read full review

Review: Prisoner of the Vatican: The Popes, the Kings, and Garibaldi's Rebels in the Struggle to Rule Modern Italy

User Review  - B Kevin - Goodreads

Fascinating historical of politics and intrigue by a noted historian. Fills the gap in Italian history between the Romans and its unification in the 19th century. A rather large gap of which I had read little. Read full review

Contents

Destroying the Papal States
9
The Pope Becomes Infallible
22
The Last Days of Papal Rome
33
Conquering the Holy City
50
The Leonine City
59
The Reluctant King
73
Pius IX in Exile Again?
85
The Papal Martyr
100
Preparing for Exile
207
Hopes Dashed
214
The Bishops Lament
229
Fears of a European War
239
Giordano Brunos Revenge
258
The Popes Secret Plan
272
Italy and the Pope
286
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
299

Anticlericalism in Rome
109
Two Deaths
123
Picking a New Pope
137
Keeping the Bishops in Line
159
The Popes Body
179
Rumors of a French Conspiracy
198
NOTES
301
REFERENCES CITED
334
ILLUSTRATION SOURCES
343
INDEX
345
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

David I. Kertzer is the author of, among other books, Prisoner of the Vatican, The Popes Against the Jews, and The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, winner of the National Jewish Book Award and a finalist for the National Book Award. He is provost of Brown University and professor of anthropology and Italian studies.

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