It is far from my purpose to elaborate the material in this book, to interpret it, or to add to it.
With much of the drama it contains I, being Ambassador of the United States at the time, was intimately familiar; much of the extraordinary personality disclosed here was an open book to me long ago because I knew well the man who now, at last, has written characteristically, directly and simply of that self for which I have a deep affection.
For his autobiography I am responsible. Lives of Mussolini written by others have interests of sorts.
"But nothing can take the place of a book which you will write yourself," I said to him.
"Write myself?" He leaned across his desk and repeated my phrase in amazement.
He is the busiest single individual in the world. He appeared hurt as if a friend had failed to understand.
"Yes," I said and showed him a series of headings I had written on a few sheets of paper.
"All right," he said in English. "I will."
It was quite like him. He decides quickly and completely.
So he began. He dictated. I advised that method because when he attempts to write in longhand he cor-