She was the woman who "invented" the Duce and invested fascism with aesthetic brilliance: Margherita Sarfatti. Karin Wieland relates the disturbing life of one of the most influential yet unknown characters in the history of totalitarianism.
Margherita Sarfatti, daughter of a distinguished Jewish family, grew up in a Venetian palazzo in the last years of the 19th century. A carefree existence awaited her, but Margherita wanted her own life. Joining the socialists she fought, as a critic, for the acceptance of modern art. In a salon in Milan she met the man who was to determine the rest of her life: Benito Mussolini. She became his secret lover, and it was under her influence that a gawky elementary school teacher was transformed into the charismatic Duce. Fascism was born, the first political ideology celebrating the futuristic cult of beauty, speed and technology. Sarfatti accompanied the meteoric ascent of the dictator – only to be cast aside when he no longer wished to be associated with a Jewess.
Karin Wieland recounts the life of a woman who is almost forgotten but whose biography is characterized by the upheavals of the 20th century.