The Woman Who Shot Mussolini

Episodes

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01*20100322

On Wednesday 7 April, 1926 Benito Mussolini is shot at close quarters.

Who did it and why?

Sinead Cusack reads from Frances Stonor Saunders' account of the troubled life of Violet Gibson, the daughter of an Anglo-Irish lord, who attempted to assassinate Mussolini in Rome in 1926.

On Wednesday 7th April 1926, in front of a crowd of cheering Fascist supporters, Benito Mussolini is shot at close quarters.

The bullet nicks the bridge of his nose and the bleeding is profuse.

Who shot him and why did they do it?

Abridged by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

02*20100323

Violet Gibson's quest for spiritual comfort was troubled.

Why did she shoot at Mussolini?

Sinead Cusack reads from Frances Stonor Saunders' account of the troubled life of Violet Gibson, the daugher of an Anglo-Irish lord who attempted to assassinate Mussolini in Rome in 1926.

Violet Gibson was the daughter of an Anglo-Irish peer.

Her circumstances were comfortable financially, but her quest for spiritual comfort was troubled.

What led her to raise a pistol at the Fascist dictator Mussolini?

Abridged by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

03*20100324

Mussolini's heroic image enthused his supporters.

Violet Gibson came to feel differently.

Sinead Cusack reads from Frances Stonor Saunders' account of the troubled life of Violet Gibson, the daugher of an Anglo-Irish lord who attempted to assassinate Mussolini in Rome in 1926.

Mussolini was a man with a passion for living dangerously - his battle scars and near misses testified to that - and it was the heroic legend that he stoked which so enthused his supporters.

But Violet Gibson came to feel differently.

Abridged by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

04*20100325

As she was led off by police, Violet seemed surprised to hear that she had shot Mussolini.

Sinead Cusack reads from Frances Stonor Saunders' account of the troubled life of Violet Gibson, the daugher of an Anglo-Irish lord who attempted to assassinate Mussolini in Rome in 1926.

As she was led off by the police in the moments after she had shot Benito Mussolini, Violet seemed confused and surprised to hear what she had done.

But her subsequent behaviour showed flashes of remarkable lucidity.

Was it an act of sanity to attempt to kill a man whom the world later regarded as deluded?

Abridged by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

05 LAST20100326

After her release by the Italian government, how would Violet's family determine her fate?

Sinead Cusack reads from Frances Stonor Saunders's account of troubled life of Violet Gibson, the daugher of an Anglo-Irish lord who attempted to assassinate Mussolini in Rome in 1926.

Violet was eventually released by the Italian government.

But how would her family determine her fate and future?

Abridged by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.