Bosworth, R.J.B. 1943–

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Bosworth, R.J.B. 1943–

(Richard James Boon Bosworth)

PERSONAL: Born December 7, 1943, in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; son of Richard C.L. Bosworth (a professor of chemistry) and Thelma H.E. Bosworth; married Michal Gwyn Newell (a writer), September 23, 1965; children: Edmund R.F., Mary F. Education: University of Sydney, B.A. (first-class honors), 1965, M.A. (first-class honors), 1967; Cambridge University, Ph.D., 1971. Politics: Australian Labor Party.

ADDRESSES: Home—Como, Western Australia, Australia. Office—Discipline of History, M208 School of Humanities, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, 6009 Western Australia, Australia. E-mail[email protected].

CAREER: University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, lecturer, 1969–73, senior lecturer, 1974–81, associate professor of history, 1981–86; University of Western Australia, Nedlands, professor of history, 1987–2007, head of department, 1988–90, part-time professor 2007–; University of Reading, Reading, England, part-time professor, 2007–. F. May Foundation for Italian Studies, Sydney, Australia, deputy director, 1981–85, acting director, 1982–83, 1986; Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University, Canberra, research fellow, 1991; St. John's College, Cambridge, England, visiting overseas scholar, 1992. Contemporary European Studies Association of Australia, member of editorial board, 1993–. Visiting professor at institutions, including Balliol College (England), University of Trento (Italy), and All Souls College (England). Writer for Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC); guest on television programs, including Relax with a Book, Start the Week, and Late Night Live.

MEMBER: Australasian Association for European History (president), Australian Historical Association, American Historical Association.

AWARDS, HONORS: Grants from the Italian government, 1976, Fremantle Council, 1987–88, and University of Western Australia's Division of Arts and Architecture, 1993; Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation fellowship, 1996; Australian Centenary Medal for services to Australian society and the humanities in the study of history, 2003; West Australian prize for history, Premier's Prize for literature and for nonfiction, and National History Prize, Queensland government, 2003, all for Mussolini; West Australian Premier's non-fiction prize and New South Wales Premier's prize for general history, both for Mussolini's Italy; recipient of seven grants from the Australian Research Council.


Benito Mussolini and the Fascist Destruction of Liberal Italy, 1900–1945, Rigby (Adelaide, Australia), 1973.

Italy, the Least of the Great Powers: Italian Foreign Policy before the First World War, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1979.

Italy and the Approach of the First World War, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1983.

(With J.K. Wilton) Old Worlds and New Australia: A History of Non-British Migration to Australia since the Second World War, Penguin (New York, NY), 1984, 3rd edition, 1987.

Explaining Auschwitz and Hiroshima: History Writing and the Second World War, 1945–1990, Routledge (New York, NY), 1993.

(With M. Bosworth) Fremantle's Italy, Grupo Editoriale Internazionale (Rome, Italy), 1993.

Italy and the Wider World, 1860–1960, Routledge (New York, NY), 1996.

The Italian Dictatorship: Problems and Perspectives in the Interpretation of Mussolini and Fascism, Arnold (New York, NY), 1998.

Mussolini, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2002.

Mussolini's Italy: Life under the Fascist Dictatorship, 1915–1945, Allen Lane (London, England), 2005, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to books, including The Great Powers and the End of the Ottoman Empire, edited by Marian Kent, Allen & Unwin (London, England), 1982; The Australian People: An Encyclopedia of the Nation, Its People and Their Origins, edited by J. Jupp, Angus & Robertson (Sydney, Australia), 1988; and Italia-Australia 1788–1988, edited by R. Ugolini, Edizioni dell'Ateneo (Rome, Italy), 1991. Contributor of articles to scholarly journals, including Journal of Modern History, European History Quarterly, International History Review, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, and Journal of Religious History. Editorial board member of International History Review, 1993–97, Convivio, 1994–, and History Compass, 2003–.


(With Gianfranco Cresciani) Altro Polo: A Volume of Italian Studies, F. May Foundation (Sydney, Australia), 1979.

(With G. Rizzo, and contributor) Altro Polo: A Study of Intellectuals and Ideas in Contemporary Italy, F. May Foundation, 1983.

(With Sergio Romano, and contributor) La politica estera italiana, 1861–1985, Il Mulino (Bologna, Italy), 1991.

(With Romano Ugolini, and contributor) War, Internment, and Mass Migration: The Italo-Australian Experience, 1940–1990, Grupo Editoriale Internazionale (Rome, Italy), 1992.

(And translator, with Margot Melia) Leopoldo Zunini, Western Australia as It Is Today, 1906, University of Western Australia Press (Nedlands, West Australia), 1997.

(With Patrizia Dogliani) Italian Fascism: History, Memory, and Representation, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1999.

Also editor of Teaching History, 1971–79, and, with Margot Melia, of Aspects of Ethnicity: Studies in Western Australian History, Volume 12, 1991.

SIDELIGHTS: R.J.B. Bosworth has chronicled the life of the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini in several works, including a biography titled Mussolini, published in 2002, and a history of Il Duce's reign titled Mussolini's Italy: Life under the Fascist Dictatorship, 1915–1945, published in 2005. Bosworth's biography of the fascist leader "is written in an engaging style and clearly discusses issues from financial policy to Mussolini's sexual habits without resorting to either sensationalism or ridicule," noted Carl Ipsen in Journal of Modern History. According to a reviewer for Economist, Bosworth's is "perhaps the best biography of Mussolini in English." Bosworth analyzed the effects of Mussolini's rule in Mussolini's Italy. Some historians have painted Mussolini as a fundamentally decent person who was led astray by Hitler, but Bosworth refutes this notion. "In mesmeric detail, Bosworth puts Mussolini squarely behind the worst atrocities" in Italy during that era, according to Spectator reviewer Ian Thompson. The Economist reviewer called this book "a powerful work of scholarship, beautifully written, which should be read by anyone interested in 20th-century Europe, or indeed the antecedents of modern-day Italy."

Bosworth once told CA: "My interest in Italian history is accidental; my being an Australian is accidental. I would like to be an enemy of all nationalism, but once committed to Italy (or Australia), I don't see how one can change. This means that my critical interpretation of Italian foreign policy as managed by its ruling elite from 1860 to 1945, or of Australian immigration policy since the Second World War, tends to place me on the left, politically. At the same time I remain enough of a liberal to be almost as skeptical of the ideologizing of some Marxist or other radical historians. But, safely enclosed in the cozy nook of Australia, beyond what one Australian novelist has called 'the rage of history,' one can afford the luxury of being soft-centered."



Economist, October 8, 2005, review of Mussolini's Italy: Life under the Fascist Dictatorship, 1915–1945, p. 92.

Journal of Modern History, March, 2005, Carl Ipsen, review of Mussolini, p. 206.

Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2005, review of Mussolini's Italy, p. 1305.

Publishers Weekly, November 21, 2005, review of Mussolini's Italy, p. 36.

Spectator, October 22, 2005, Ian Thompson, review of Mussolini's Italy, p. 56.