Pulitzer-Prize-winning author David Kertzer is the Paul Dupee University Professor of Social Science at Brown University. His most recent book, The Pope Who Would be King (Random House, 2018), termed “richly rewarding” by the Christian Science Monitor and “a rock-solid history, with enough intrigue and double-dealing to compete with any Robert Harris thriller” by the Seattle Times, tells the dramatic story of the Roman revolution of 1848, when the pope was driven into exile and the end of the papal theocracy was proclaimed. Kertzer’s previous book, The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe, (Random House, 2014), won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 2015. It also won the American Historical Association prize for best book in Italian history. Eleven foreign editions are either already published or in press. Kertzer's book Amalia's Tale, published by Houghton Mifflin in 2008, recounts the story of an illiterate Italian woman of the nineteenth century who contracted syphilis from a baby given her to nurse by the local foundling home. Amazingly, her ten-year battle against the medical establishment and aristocracy led to a historic victory. A very different battle was at the heart of Kertzer’s 2004 book, Prisoner of the Vatican–the tale of two popes' efforts to retake Rome from the new Italian state in the late nineteenth century–published by Houghton Mifflin. His 2001 book, The Popes against the Jews (Knopf/Vintage), a look at the Vatican's role in the rise of modern anti-Semitism, has been published in Italian, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Brazilian, Polish, Hungarian, and British editions.
Kertzer’s The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara (Knopf/Vintage) was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1997, and has been published in eighteen foreign editions. Among his earler books, two received the Marraro Prize from the Society for Italian Historical Studies for the best book of the year on Italian history (1985, 1990).
Kertzer is an authority on Italian politics, society, and history; political symbolism; and anthropological demography. He is co-founder and served for many years as co-editor of the Journal of Modern Italian Studies. A play based on The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, by playwright Alfred Uhry, was performed at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis in 2006. In April 2016, Steven Spielberg announced that he would be making a film based on Kertzer’s book, with a screenplay by Tony Kushner. In 2005 Kertzer was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. From 2006 to 2011, he was the Provost of Brown University.