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 the 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) won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography.
Kertzer, photographed in 2015
David Israel Kertzer
February 20, 1948
New York City, U.S.
|Residence||Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.|
|Occupation||Professor, historian, author|
|Awards||Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography (2015)|
Career and writing
Kertzer graduated from Brown University in 1969. He received his PhD in Anthropology from Brandeis University in 1974, and taught at Bowdoin College until 1992. That year he joined the faculty of Brown University as Professor of Anthropology and History.
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.
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." 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. The book won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography in April 2015.
- Rome Prize for Modern Italian Studies, 2015–2016
- Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography, 2015
- Elected Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2005.
- Mark Lynton Prize for History, finalist 2002, The Popes Against the Jews.
- Fellowship, Rockefeller Foundation Study Center, Bellagio, Italy, May–June 2000.
- Fulbright Chair, University of Bologna, Spring 2000.
- American Academy in Rome, Department of Education Professor, Fall 1999.
- National Book Award for Nonfiction for 1997, finalist, for The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara. Also National Jewish Book Award for Jewish-Christian relations, 1997.
- National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 1995–1996.
- 1991 Marraro Prize (Society for Italian Historical Studies) for "the best work on Italian history" in 1989 for Family, Political Economy, and Demographic Change.
- Guggenheim Fellowship, 1986–1987.
- 1985 Marraro Prize (Society for Italian Historical Studies) for "the best work on Italian history" in 1984 for Family Life in Central Italy.
- Fellowship, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, 1982–1983.
- Fulbright Senior Lecturer, University of Catania, Italy, winter–spring 1978.
- Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellow, 1972–1973.
- Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude, Brown University, 1969.
- Comrades and Christians: Religion and Political Struggle in Communist Italy. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1980
- Family Life in Central Italy, 1880–1910: Sharecropping, Wage Labor and Coresidence. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1984.
- Ritual, Politics and Power. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988.
- Family, Political Economy, and Demographic Change: The Transformation of Life in Casalecchio, Italy, 1861–1921 (with Dennis Hogan). Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989.
- Sacrificed for Honor: Italian Infant Abandonment and the Politics of Reproductive Control. Boston: Beacon Press, 1993
- Politics and Symbols: The Italian Communist Party and the Fall of Communism. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996.
- The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara. New York: Knopf, 1997.
- The Popes Against the Jews: The Vatican’s Role in the Rise of Modern Anti-Semitism. New York: Knopf, 2001.
- Prisoner of the Vatican: The Pope’s Plot to Capture Italy from the New Italian State. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 2004.
- Amalia’s Tale: a Peasant’s Fight for Justice in 19th Century Italy. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 2008.
- Kertzer, David I. (2014). The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe. Random House Publishing Group. (American edition)
- The Pope Who Would Be King: The Exile of Pius IX and the Emergence of Modern Europe Random House, 24 April 2018.
- "David I Kertzer". Researchers@Brown. Brown University. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
- Kertzer CV Archived 2012-02-17 at the Wayback Machine
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- "Presenting the 2015–2016 Rome Prize Winners". American Academy in Rome. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
- "Helen and Howard R. Marraro Prize in Italian History". Society for Italian Historical Studies. Retrieved April 7, 2018.