Carlo Rosselli (1899–1937) was one of the most charismatic and influential of European antifascist intellectuals. Born into a wealthy Jewish family, and abandoning a promising career as a professor of political economics, he devoted his considerable fortune and ultimately his life to the struggle against fascism. In 1925, he was instrumental in establishing the first underground antifascist newspaper. While imprisoned for his subversive political activities, he wrote his magnum opus, Liberal Socialism, arguing that socialism was the logical development of the principle of liberty. After a daring escape, he made his way to Paris and became the driving force behind a new political movement, “Justice and Liberty.” Rosselli was among the first to arrive in Barcelona after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, in which he commanded an armed column of volunteers in defense of the Republic. When Italian fascists discovered Rosselli’s plot to assassinate Mussolini, they declared him the regime’s most dangerous enemy and had him murdered, along with his brother, noted historian Nello Rosselli, on a country road in Normandy.
In this work, the first biography of Rosselli in English, Stanislao Pugliese skillfully interweaves the strands of heresy, exile, and tragedy in Rosselli’s life. The drama and drive of his narrative enhance the scholarly contribution that this work makes to modern Italian history and to the study of European antifascism.