By ADRIAN TAHOURDIN
Christopher Duggan, who has died aged fifty-seven, was a valued contributor to the TLS, writing with elegance and insight on twentieth-century Italy. His particular area of expertise was the Fascist period – he was awarded the Wolfson Prize for History for Fascist Voices: An intimate history of Mussolini’s Italy (2012), which the TLS reviewer called “an impressive and very readable work”. But he ranged more widely, and wrote eloquently about literary figures such as Gabriele d’Annunzio.
Duggan’s first review for the TLS, in 1985, was of a book about General Carlo Alberto dalla Chiesa, the anti-Mafia Prefect of Palermo who was assassinated in September 1982. Duggan concluded his review: “If the present war against the Mafia is to be effective, the testimony of such men as [the informant] Tommaso Buscetta needs cautious evaluation. Excessive zeal fosters feelings of victimization, and such feelings have their roots deep in Sicilian history”.