Academic journal article Military Review

The Pope's Soldiers: A Military History of the Modern Vatican

Academic journal article Military Review

The Pope's Soldiers: A Military History of the Modern Vatican

Article excerpt

THE POPE'S SOLDIERS: A Military History of the Modern Vatican, David Alvarez, University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, 2011, 444 pages, $34.95.

David Alvarez provides a fascinating and well-researched history of the Vatican's military forces in the post-medieval period. Going beyond the traditional Swiss Guard story, the author delves into campaigns conducted by the Pontifical Army between 1796 and 1870 as part of the Great Power struggle over Italy and illustrates how the Army haphazardly confronted the forces of Italian unification. He elaborates on the Papacy's World War II mobilization and its precarious position vis-a-vis both Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, and then brings the story into the modern era with an overview to the Papal disarmament of 1970 and the security challenges of the present day.

The book goes beyond previous volumes like Popes, Cardinals and War; The Pope's Legions; and The Pope's Army given its depth of research. A professor of politics, the author gained access to a number of hitherto unexplored archives and provides the reader with an extensive, multilingual bibliography. …

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