Prisoner of the Vatican (Paperback)

The Popes, the Kings, and Garibaldi's Rebels in the Struggle to Rule Modern Italy

By David I. Kertzer

Mariner Books, 9780618619191, 358pp.

Publication Date: February 20, 2006

List Price: 21.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Praise for David Kertzer and Prisoner of the Vatican:

"Kertzer once again proves himself a truly compelling historian." -- André Aciman

"Prisoner of the Vatican reads like exciting fiction. And it has astounding contemporary relevance." -- Alfred Uhry

"Kertzer’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 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. 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 Italy’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

“A suspenseful and even captivating read . . . Kertzer illuminates one of history’s darker corners.” -- 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.

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.