Synopses & Reviews
David Kertzer's absorbing history presents an astonishing account
of the birth of modern Italy and the clandestine politics behind the
Vatican's last stand in the battle between church and the newly created
Italian state. Taking advantage of a wealth of secret documents long
buried in the Vatican archives, Prisoner of the Vatican begins by looking
at the embattled Pius IX. When Italy's armies seized the Holy City
and claimed it for the Italian capital, the pope, 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 intrigues, little known until now, that hinged on such fascinating
characters as Garibaldi, Napoleon III, and Chancellor Bismarck.
No one who reads this eye-opening book will ever think of Italy, or the
Vatican, in quite the same way again.
Praise for David Kertzer and Prisoner of the Vatican:
"Kertzer once again proves himself a truly compelling historian." -- Andrand#233; Aciman
"Prisoner of the Vatican reads like exciting fiction. And it has astounding contemporary relevance." -- Alfred Uhry
"Kertzerand#8217;s careful scholarship and lucid writing make the human character of this religious institution quite clear." -- James Carroll
"Fascinating." -- Entertainment Weekly
"Lively . . . filled with telling anecdotes and colorful descriptions of the various characters involved in the struggle." -- America, the National Catholic Weekly
"Riveting and fast-paced . . . history writing at its best." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review
"[A] rousing tale . . . from a masterful, controversial scholar." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"A chilling and timely warning of what happens when religious power becomes synonymous with political power. If you love Italy, if you love Rome, this book is essential reading." -- John Guare
"As magically spellbinding as it is enlightening, replete with colorful characters and complex international and ecclesiastical politics and intrigue. Kertzer is a national treasure and his latest book another masterpiece." -- Kevin Madigan, associate professor, Harvard Divinity School
"This book is a gift to everyone who welcomes the emergence of buried history, and a boon to anyone who has ever wondered about the origins of the wonderful, tenuously unified place called modern Italy." -- Tracy Kidder
David Kertzerand#8217;s absorbing history presents an astonishing account of the birth of modern Italy and the clandestine politics behind the Vaticanand#8217;s last stand in the battle between church and the newly created Italian state. Drawing on a wealth of secret documents long buried in the Vatican archives, Kertzer reveals a fascinating story of outrageous accusations, mutual denunciations, raucous demonstrations, and secret dealings.
When Italyand#8217;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 intrigues that hinged on such fascinating characters as Garibaldi, King Viktor Emmanuel, Napoleon III, and Chancellor Bismarck. No one who reads this eye-opening book will ever think of Italy, or the Vatican, in quite the same way again.
"A gripping account of this little-known story." -- Washington Post
and#147;A suspenseful and even captivating read . . . Kertzer illuminates one of historyand#8217;s darker corners.and#8221; -- Providence Journal
"Extraordinary . . . Kertzer describes intrigue, spying, disinformation, and public relations campaigns worthy of any contemporary spy novel." -- Seattle Times
David I. Kertzer is author of several illuminating works of history, including The Popes Against the Jews and The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, a National Book Award finalist. A professor of anthropology and Italian studies at Brown University, he lives in Providence, Rhode Island.
Based on a wealth of documents long buried in the Vatican archives, "Prisoner of the Vatican" tells the story of the Church's secret attempt to block the unification of Italy and seize control--not in ancient times, but in the late 19th century.
About the Author
David Kertzer is Dupee University Professor of Social Science and Professor of History and Anthropology at Brown University. He is the author of, among other books, The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara (Knopf/Vintage), a National Book Award finalist and translated into nine languages, and the forthcoming The Popes Against the Jews (Knopf).