Frances Stonor Saunders is the author of the bestselling Hawkwood, and of Who Paid the Piper?, a cultural history of the Cold War that has been translated into ten languages and was awarded the Royal Historical Society's Gladstone Memorial Prize. Her most recent book is The Woman who Shot Mussolini. Her writing has appeared in the Guardian, the New Statesman and Areté. She lives in London.
The Woman Who Shot Mussolini (Faber and Faber)
7 April 1926: on the steps of the Capitol in Rome, surrounded by chanting Fascists, the Honourable Violet Gibson raises her revolver and fires at the Italian head of state, the poster-boy of the European Right and darling of the British ruling class. The bullet narrowly misses the dictator’s bald head, hitting him in the nose. Of all his would-be assassins, she came closest to changing the course of history.What had brought her to this moment? She was the daughter of an important Anglo-Irish peer, born to privilege and ease. Her family was Protestant, Unionist and conservative. She should have married into the aristocracy and lived the life that women of her milieu were expected to lead.
Frances Stonor Saunders’ unforgettable and compulsively readable book rescues this gentle, driven woman from a silent void and restores her dignity and purpose.