Prisoner of the Vatican: The Popes' Secret Plot to Capture Rome from the New Italian State

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2004 - History - 357 pages
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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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Contents

Italys Birth and Near Demise
1
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
Rumors of a French Conspiracy
198
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

The Papal Martyr
100
Anticlericalism in Rome
109
Two Deaths
123
Picking a New Pope
137
Keeping the Bishops in Line
159
The Popes Body
179
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
299
NOTES
301
REFERENCES CITED
334
ILLUSTRATION SOURCES
343
INDEX
345
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About the author (2004)

He is a professor anthropology & history at Brown University. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

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