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

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9780618224425: 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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About the Author:

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.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Introduction: Italys Birth and Near Demise Modern Italy, it could be said, was founded over the dead body of Pope Pius IX. Although Italy had been a geographical label since Roman times, the idea that a distinctive Italian people inhabited the boot-shaped peninsula and its islands was more recent, and the notion that they should have an independent state of their own more recent still. Only with the French Revolutions attack on the principles of absolutism and divinely ordained hierarchy could such an idea gain ground, and only with the rise of nationalism as the political creed of the nineteenth century could "Italy for the Italians" become the new watchword. But creating a sense of common Italian identity among the people of the peninsula was no easy matter. Not only were they not accustomed to being part of the same country, few of them spoke Italian, 97 percent speaking a kaleidoscope of dialects and languages that were in good part mutually unintelligible. In the aftermath of Napoleons defeat in 1814, the Italian nationalist movement faced a peninsula that was divided into a patchwork of states and duchies propped up by foreign forces, the Austrian empire foremost among them. But the nationalists were not entirely discouraged, for they knew that autocratic mini-states were vulnerable to the wrath of their subjects from within and to armies from without. Assorted dukes and kings had painfully learned the latter lesson when Napoleons armies had, not many years earlier, swept through the peninsula and deposed them all. For Italys nationalists, then, the most daunting obstacle was not the Austrian occupation of northeastern It- aly, nor the tottering Bourbon monarchy that ruled all of the South and Sicily, nor the assorted dukes and their duchies. No, there was a far greater power, a far more imposing foe, one that cut the peninsula in two, blocking North from South, its capital the legendary city of Romulus and Remus, the symbol of Italys ancient greatness. For more than a thousand years the popes had ruled over these Papal States, a swath of territory that extended from Rome northward through Umbria and the Marches to Ferrara and Bologna. Deposing the duke of Modena or the grandduke of Tuscany, or even driving the Austrians out of Lombardy and Veneto, was one thing. Deposing the pope from his thousand-year earthly reign was something very different, for the pope, though having little in the way of military might, had weapons that no other ruler could ever hope to wield. What the pope had was the belief - enshrined in official Church dogma and pronounced by parish priests throughout the land - that he ruled over a divinely ordained kingdom as Gods representative on earth. The creation of a unified Italian state, the pope insisted - and in this he had centuries of Church teachings to back him up - was contrary to Gods wishes. It could only be accomplished by force, and anyone taking part in such an assault would be throwing in h

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ISBN 10: 0618224424 ISBN 13: 9780618224425
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Descripción Houghton Mifflin, Wilmington, Massachusetts, U.S.A., 2004. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Estado de la sobrecubierta: New. Book. Nº de ref. de la librería 070351

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Kertzer, David I.
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Descripción Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2004. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Never used!. Nº de ref. de la librería P110618224424

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Kertzer, David I.
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