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In 1932 Emil Ludwig interviewed over several days Benito Mussolini and then published with Mondadori publishing house the result, as the book Talks with Mussolini. After having approved the draft with only minimal corrections, Mussolini blocked the book and imposed more extended modifications. Nowadays the complete version is available (in Italian, since 1950).

My question is: are the talks as reported by Ludwig reliable? In other words, may we take the sentences attributed to Mussolini as his own?

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  • Mussolini lived (and worked) in Switzerland, so he had opportunity to learn German fluently there . As for French, it was a language of educated elite, and somewhat similar to Italian language.
    – rs.29
    Commented Aug 14, 2018 at 20:23
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    The wikipedia article seems to cover this here, discussing publications of his before WW1.
    – justCal
    Commented Aug 15, 2018 at 0:20
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    @rs.29: Per the Wikipedia article, he also lived in Geneva, Lausanne, and other French-speaking parts of Switzerland, so he would have had an opportunity to learn French as well.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Aug 15, 2018 at 3:48
  • The question about the languages is only a part, and not the main one, of the question, which is instead about the reliability of Ludwig's book.
    – DaG
    Commented Aug 15, 2018 at 11:45
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    Thanks, @Mark, I have altogether removed the part about languages, which was just misleading.
    – DaG
    Commented Aug 15, 2018 at 12:08

1 Answer 1

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As Mussolini reviewed twice the content of the book, we can say that the words of Mussolini where his own, as Mussolini intended for the reader to hear.

Are exactly what Mussolini said? Mostly not - as they have been reviewed and likely modified. They represent the though of Mussolini? mostly yes, for the same reason.

In 1970 has bee printed a first version draft wiht Mussolini's note here on Amazon Italy - ISBN 978-88-04-47620-7

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