David Kertzer

David Kertzer

Kertzer, photographed in 2015
Born David Israel Kertzer
(1948-02-20) February 20, 1948
New York City, U.S.
Residence Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
Citizenship United States
Alma mater Brown University, Brandeis University
Occupation Professor, historian, author
Employer Brown University
Notable work The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara (1997); The Popes Against the Jews (2001); The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe (2014)
Awards Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography (2015)
Website www.davidkertzer.com

David Israel Kertzer (born February 20, 1948) is an American anthropologist, historian, and academic leader specializing in the political, demographic, and religious history of Italy. He is Paul Dupee, Jr. University Professor of Social Science, Professor of Anthropology, and Professor of Italian Studies at Brown University. His book The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe (2014)[1] won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography.

Career and writing

Kertzer graduated from Brown University in 1969. He received his PhD in 1974 from Brandeis University, and taught at Bowdoin College until 1992. That year he joined the faculty of Brown University as Professor of Anthropology and History.[2]

Sponsored by the U.S.-Italy Fulbright Commission, in 1978 he was Senior Lecturer at the University of Catania and in 2000, Chair at the University of Bologna. In 2001, he relinquished his post at Brown as Professor of History and was appointed Professor of Italian Studies. In 2005, he was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. From July 1, 2006, to June 30, 2011, Kertzer served as Provost at Brown.[2]

Kertzer is the author of numerous books and articles on politics and culture, European social history, anthropological demography, 19th-century Italian social history, contemporary Italian society and politics, and the history of Vatican relations with the Jews and the Italian state. His book, The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, was a finalist for the National Book Award in Nonfiction in 1997. His The Popes Against the Jews, published in 2001, was subsequently described as "one of the most critically acclaimed and contentious books of its genre and generation."[3] The book analyzes the relation between the development of the Catholic Church and the growth of European anti-Semitism in the 19th and 20th centuries, arguing that the Vatican and several popes contributed actively to fertilizing the ideological ground that produced the Holocaust. The work produced intense discussion among scholars of European history and historians of the Catholic Church.

The follow-up work, The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe (2014), examined documentary evidence from the Vatican archives, arguing that Pope Pius XI played a significant role in supporting the rise of Fascism and Benito Mussolini in Italy, but not of Nazi Germany.[4] The book won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography in April 2015.[5]


Written works


  1. http://www.davidkertzer.com/books/pope-and-mussolini
  2. 1 2 Kertzer CV
  3. Ventresca, R. A. (2012). "Review Essay: War without End: The Popes and the Jews between Polemic and History". Harvard Theological Review. 105 (04): 466–490.
  4. Ventresca, R. A. (2014). "The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe by David I. Kertzer (review).". The Catholic Historical Review. 100 (3): 630–632.
  5. Somaiya, Ravi (April 20, 2015). "2015 Pulitzer Winners: Charleston, S.C., Paper Wins Public Service Prize; New York Times Wins 3". The New York Times. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  6. "Presenting the 2015–2016 Rome Prize Winners". American Academy in Rome. Retrieved 24 May 2015.

External links

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