David Kertzer, former provost at Brown, has been awarded the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for biography-autobiography.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — David Kertzer, the Paul R. Dupee Jr. Professor of Social Science and professor of anthropology and Italian studies, and a 1969 graduate of Brown, has been awarded the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for biography-autobiography for his book The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe.

Pulitzer judges described Kertzer’s 2014 book as “an engrossing dual biography that uses recently opened Vatican archives to shed light on two men who exercised nearly absolute power over their realms.”

Kertzer expressed surprise at the win.

“I had no idea the Pulitizer Prizes were about to be announced nor any hint they were considering The Pope and Mussolini, so this is quite a shock. Like any author, I hope that the news leads many new readers to the book.”

Based on seven years of research in the Vatican and Fascist archives, the book reveals the secret relationship between Pope Pius XI and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.

Other finalists for the prize were the Thomas Brothers’ Louis Armstrong: Master of Modernism and Stephen Kotkin’s Stalin: Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928.