Academic background and publications

I have a degree in Italian language and literature and a PhD in Modern European History, both of which I obtained from Trinity College Dublin.

This is me with my nephew, Ryan, at the conferring of my PhD in July 2003.

I have also passed level C2 (Proficiency) of the Certificato d’Italiano come Lingua Straniera (CILS), with a grade of 83%. For a list of the prizes which I was awarded while at university please see my CV.

My PhD thesis was on the role of Benito Mussolini as a young journalist and soldier during the First World War. This was subsequently published as a book by Berg (Oxford and New York) in 2004-2005, details of which can be found here.

During research for the PhD I came across documentation in the Italian State Archives on concerning the injury incurred by Mussolini at the front in 1917 and for which he was exempted from further service. My argument overturned the standard interpretation of this incident and showed that he was in fact suffering from neurosyphilis. The findings were published in Italia Contemporanea, no. 226, March 2002 and are available here in Italian. A shorter version was published in English in the 2002-2003 edition of the Journal of Postgraduate Studies in Trinity College Dublin, and won the proze for best essay. This is available free of charge by writing to the editor of the review at


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