Lady Antonia Fraser presented the award to Prof Duggan, who is head of the School of Literature and Languages at the university, at a ceremony earlier this month.
Prof Duggan drew on private diaries, letters – including some sent to the dictator – and autobiographies of those who lived through the regime to uncover how they experienced fascism. The book examines how Mussolini gained the support of the majority of the Italian population and details the personal relationships they had with him and why his rule still resonates today.
The Times Higher Education magazine said the book took up the challenge of explaining why Il Duce’s regime appealed to so many Italians and praised the author’s “thoughtful tone and sensitive handling of his sources”. The Financial Times called it an “excellent new history of Italian Fascism” and the Times Literary Supplement added that it was “a fluid and absorbing book”.
It was described in the London Review of Books as a
Prof Duggan joined the university in 1987 and is an authority on the political, social and cultural history of modern Italy. He has written a number of influential books on the subject. In 2008 he was honoured for his services to Italy when he was made a Commander of the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity, a knighthood conferred by the President of the Republic of Italy.