Many are the people to whom I shall be eternally grateful for their assistance in seeing this book through to completion both during its previous incarnation as a Ph.D. thesis and in the transition from the Ph.D. to the book. In particular these include my parents, Nora and Paul, my late and beloved uncle Jack, my by now numerous brothers and sisters, my friend Jim Larragy and my 'old mate' Andy 'I have taken the liberty' Pickering. I am also indebted to Paul Corner of the University of Siena and Alan Kramer of Trinity College Dublin for their detailed advice on how to prepare the manuscript for publication. Special thanks to Tom Gray and to Michael Rosen for their guidance and encouragement during the book-proposal/publisher-seeking process, and to Berg Publishers for their decision to take the project on. The maps contained herein were designed by Professor Giorgio Rochat of the University of Turin, to whom many thanks are due for the kind permission to adapt and use them from his and Mario Isnenghi's recent volume on the Great War (Isnenghi and Rochat, 2000). Unless otherwise stated all translations from Mussolini's writings are mine. Finally, there are two people who tower over this book and who lend most weight to the theory according to which there is no such thing as an individual author. The first is Professor John Horne of Trinity College Dublin, who remained a firm, imperturbable, humane and professional term of reference during the many years of uncertainty and despair which have accompanied this work through its various phases. The second is my wife, Giusi Dossena. This endeavour began at the same time as our life together and is virtually synonymous with it. Why, despite everything, she has chosen to believe in both me and this project is the main unresolved mystery of the project itself, and it is to her, therefore, that I dedicate this book.