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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 December 1998
I had trouble putting this book down. Mr. Mallet gives us a snapshot of the high Renaissance by focusing on the lives of Pope Alexander VI and his son, Cesare Borgia. The political intrigue can be confusing, but can be followed if the reader pays attention. It brings to life the struggles and ever shifting alliances between the Italian City States, France, and Spain. It also gives life to the amibitions and struggles of Roman families whose villas and palaces you may have visited, but about whom a lay person knows very little. The author makes you understand the great conflict between the Papacy as a temporal and a spiritual power. If you are a visitor to Rome, this book is vital to understanding the history of the city during the Renaissance.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 13 December 1998
This book will give you a clear picture of a much-maligned family, and will certainly present you with an altogether different image of Lucrezia Borgia. The book itself combines good history-writing with reasonable storytelling. Mr. Mallett is a university professor and it shows in his style; the backflap review suggesting you will be "riveted" by his storytelling-talents is only true if you are easily riveted. For more entertaining writing, Marion Johnson's book on the subject just has the edge. This is a good effort, though and the story itself has much to entertain you.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 11 May 1999
The author treats his audience like a class of students who have signed up for a last minute exam review of Italian rennaissance political history to which the Borgias are a footnote. This class is obviously doomed.He needs to read the works of Carolly Erickson and Al'Tabari atleast to learn how to make history a pleasure to read whilst providing focussed information.At the very least, man, read Antonia Frasier!Though dry she is at least succinct.A disappointing read.
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