Pulitzer awardee David Kertzer reading/signing his new book The Pope Who Would Be King: The Exile of Pius IX and the Emergence of Modern Europe. In 1846, Pope Pius IX’s election triggered a wave of optimism across Italy.
Italians saw the youthful, benevolent new pope as the man who would, at last, bring the Papal States into modern times and help create a new, unified Italian nation. But Pius was caught between a desire to please his subjects and a fear—stoked by the conservative cardinals—that heeding the people’s pleas would destroy the church. Two years later, the wave of revolution that had swept through Europe in 1848 now seemed poised to end the popes’ thousand-year reign over the Papal States, if not to the papacy itself, and Pope Pius IX found himself a virtual prisoner in his own palace. Disguising himself as a simple parish priest, Pius escaped through a back door into a fateful exile. The resulting drama—with a colorful cast of characters, from Louis Napoleon and his rabble-rousing cousin Charles Bonaparte to Garibaldi, Tocqueville, and Metternich—was rife with treachery, tragedy, and international power politics.
Books available for sale and signing.