Prisoner of the Vatican: The Popes' Secret Plot to Capture Rome from the New Italian State
We think of Italy as an ancient nation, but in fact the unified Italian state was born only in the nineteenth century — and only against the adamant refusal of the pope to relinquish his rule of Rome. In this riveting chronicle of international intrigue, the renowned historian David Kertzer delves into secret Vatican archives to reveal a venomous conflict that kept the pope a self-imposed prisoner of the Vatican for more than fifty years.
King Victor Emmanuel, his nemesis Garibaldi, the French emperor Napoleon III, England, Spain, Germany, Austria, and even America play a part in this astonishing drama. On September 20, 1870, the king's battle to unite the disparate Italian states came to a head when his troops broke through the walls of Rome, which the pope had ruled for centuries. Pope Pius IX, ensconced with the Vatican Council, denounced the usurpers and plotted with his advisers to regain power or else flee Italy altogether. A dramatic struggle unfolded over the next two decades, pitting church against state and the nations of Europe against one another. This is a story of outrageous accusations, mutual denunciations, raucous demonstrations, frenetic diplomacy, and secret dealings. Rocks were hurled along with epithets, and war across Europe seemed inevitable.
The antagonists were as explosive as the events. Pius IX, the most important pontiff in modern history, engineered the doctrine of papal infallibility but ended his days reviled and denounced. The blustering Victor Emmanuel schemed behind the backs of his own ministers. Garibaldi, Italy's dashing national hero, committed naive and dangerous mistakes. Beyond Italy, the pope’s main protector, Napoleon III, was himself being taken prisoner.
This devastating conflict, almost entirely unknown until now, still leaves a deep mark on the Italian soul. No one who reads David Kertzer's revelatory account will ever think of Italy or the Vatican in quite the same way again.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - bke - LibraryThing
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
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - bcquinnsmom - LibraryThing
First, let me say that unless you are totally enthralled by history (like I am!), you may not want to read this. This is not an historical novel, it is not a folksy history; it is definitely an ... Read full review
Italys Birth and Near Demise
Destroying the Papal States
The Pope Becomes infallible
The Last Days of Papal Rome
Conquering the Holy City
The Leonine City
The Reluctant King
Pius IX in Exile Again?
Rumors of a French Conspiracy
Preparing for Exile
The Bishops Lament
Fears of a European War
Giordano Brunos Revenge
The Popes Secret Plan
Italy and the Pope
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