On Sunday, March 10, 2019, La Lettura, the cultural supplement of Il Corriere della Sera (Italy's premier daily newspaper) published a full-page interview with Bertellini about his book, The Divo and The Duce

In the post–World War I American climate of isolationism, nativism, democratic expansion of civic rights, and consumerism, Italian-born star Rodolfo Valentino and Italy’s dictator Benito Mussolini became surprising paragons of authoritarian male power and mass appeal. Drawing on extensive archival research in the United States and Italy, Giorgio Bertellini’s work shows how their popularity, both political and erotic, largely depended on the efforts of public opinion managers, including publicists, journalists, and even ambassadors. Beyond the democratic celebrations of the Jazz Age, the promotion of their charismatic masculinity through spectacle and press coverage inaugurated the now-familiar convergence of popular celebrity and political authority.

This is the first volume in the new Cinema Cultures in Contact series, coedited by Giorgio Bertellini, Richard Abel, and Matthew Solomon.

Giorgio Bertellini also recently published a blog entitled, "When Americans loved Benito Mussolini - And what it tells us about Donald Trump's rise" in The Washington Post on February 28, 2019. In his blog, Bertellini argues that the resonances between Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and film star Rudolph Valentino underscore the apparent paradox that a public with expanded civic and consumer opportunities is also primed to embrace a celebrity’s anti-democratic and anti-egalitarian authority.

(At left) Italian dictator Benito Mussolini achieved vast popularity in 1920s America. (AP)