The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara

Front Cover
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Dec 30, 2008 - History - 368 pages
21 Reviews
National Book Award Finalist

Bologna: nightfall, June 1858. A knock sounds at the door of the Jewish merchant Momolo Mortara. Two officers of the Inquisition bust inside and seize Mortara's six-year-old son, Edgardo. As the boy is wrenched from his father's arms, his mother collapses.  The reason for his abduction: the boy had been secretly "baptized" by a family servant.  According to papal law, the child is therefore a Catholic who can be taken from his family and delivered to a special monastery where his conversion will be completed. 
   With this terrifying scene, prize-winning historian David I. Kertzer begins the true story of how one boy's kidnapping became a pivotal event in the collapse of the Vatican as a secular power.  The book evokes the anguish of a modest merchant's family, the rhythms of daily life in a Jewish ghetto, and also explores, through the revolutionary campaigns of Mazzini and Garibaldi and such personages as Napoleon III, the emergence of Italy as a modern national state.  Moving and informative, the Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara reads as both a historical thriller and an authoritative analysis of how a single human tragedy changed the course of history.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

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Review: The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara

User Review  - Patrick - Goodreads

This is an outstanding example of history being told through the combination of scholarly historical research and the weaving together of a compelling story. It reads like a novel as it relates the ... Read full review

Review: The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara

User Review  - Adam Hummel - Goodreads

Exceptionally well-researched and well-told book about this little known historical event. This book, though long at times and immensely steeped in history, mainly with respect to the ever-shifting ... Read full review

Contents

Jews in the Land of the Popes
13
Days of Desperation
32
The House of the Catechumens
55
Pope Pius IX
74
A Servants Sex Life
91
Meeting Mother
109
The Church Strikes Back
129
A Matter of Principle
143
The lnquisitors Trial
205
Defending the Inquisitor
222
The Rites of Rulers
238
New Hopes for Freeing Edgardo
247
Edgardos Escape
256
A Death in Florence
266
Afterword
299
Acknowledgments
305

Sir Moses Goes to Rome
162
i8 The Inquisitors Arrest
184
The Case Against the Inquisitor
195
Archival Sources and Abbreviations
329
Index
341
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

David I. Kertzer was born in 1948 in New York City. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1986, he has twice been awarded, in 1985 and 1990, the Marraro Prize from the Society for Italian Historical Studies for the best work on Italian history. He is currently Paul Dupee, Jr. University Professor of Social Science and a professor of anthropology and history at Brown University. He and his family live in Providence.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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