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

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HMH, Feb 20, 2006 - History - 368 pages
3 Reviews
A Pulitzer Prize winner’s “fascinating” account of the political battles that led to the end of the Papal States (Entertainment Weekly).

From a National Book Award–nominated author, this absorbing history chronicles the birth of modern Italy and the clandestine politics behind the Vatican’s last stand in the battle between the church and the newly created Italian state.
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 intrigue that hinged on such fascinating characters as Garibaldi, King Viktor Emmanuel, Napoleon III, and Chancellor Bismarck.
Drawing on a wealth of secret documents long buried in the Vatican archives, David I. Kertzer reveals a fascinating story of outrageous accusations, mutual denunciations, and secret dealings that will leave readers hard-pressed to ever think of Italy, or the Vatican, in the same way again.
“A rousing tale of clerical skullduggery and topsy-turvy politics, laced with plenty of cross-border intrigue.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jcbrunner - LibraryThing

Prisoner of the Vatican is the story of the conquest of the Papal state by the Italian government and the creation of the Vatican. Pope Pius IX was a piece of work and an opponent of everything modern ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User 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


13 The Popes Body
14 Rumors of a French Conspiracy
15 Preparing for Exile
16 Hopes Dashed
17 The Bishops Lament
18 Fears of a European War
19 Giordano Brunos Revenge
20 The Popes Secret Plan

7 Pius IX in Exile Again?
8 The Papal Martyr
9 Anticlericalism in Rome
10 Two Deaths
11 Picking a New Pope
12 Keeping the Bishops in Line
Italy and the Pope
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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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