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The Last Medici Paperback – 19 Feb 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 390 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (19 Feb 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571249086
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571249084
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 2.6 x 13.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 66,810 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Harold Acton (1904-1994) was a writer, scholar and aesthete who listed as his principal recreation 'hunting the philistines'. From the balcony of his Oxford rooms he famously declaimed passages from The Waste Land through a megaphone.He wrote in many different mediums, publishing nearly thirty books, with his poetry and fiction being markedly less successful than his other works.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. McNamee on 24 Sep 2009
Format: Paperback
Harold Acton's The Last Medici revolves around Cosimo III de' Medici, the ultra-reactionary penultimate Medici monarch of Tuscany, his consort Marguetite-Louise d'Orleans, and their children Gian Gastone, Anna Maria Luisa, and Ferdinando. Harold Acton guides the reader through the intricate fray with poise and elegance, culminating in Anna Maria Luisa's death in 1743.

Much has been written about the earlier Medici: Lorenzo, Catherine and etc, compared to their later kinsmen, and Acton is all too aware of this; as a result, the book is satiated with delicious detail. The Last Medici isn't a political history of late Medicean Tuscany, as Acton makes clear in the preface, but the definitive conglomeration of the last Medicis' lives.

Additionally, to a lesser extent, it follows the cultural decline of Tuscany; Cosimo III's despotic laws; and final question of the Tuscan Succession, the outcome of which no one in Tuscany was pleased with. It all wraps up with the old and pious Anna Maria Luisa dying alone in the Pitti Palace in 1743; the Last Medici.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Memorial to When the Man of Letters was King 10 Mar 2014
By Patrick Odaniel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Harold Acton was a renowned historian and general man of letters who was known for his witty style and deep mind. He is now generally forgotten along with the rest of his ilk. This study, though, serves as a memorial to what once was fairly common--works written by the deeply learned man of letters in a witty and non-judgmental manner (don't think Strachey and his condescending and thinly researched, Eminent Victorians).

The Last Medici, at first blush, doesn't seem promising: once proud family brought low by a surfeit of heterosexual and homosexual acts (i.e., syphillis and sodomy). But Acton makes such material as fresh and exciting as a village dance on the green. He has a certain fondness for his lovable rogues and poltroons masquerading as faded Italian aristocracy--and you, too, come to love these characters as if they stepped forth from a novel by, say, Rafael Sabatini.

There was a time, not long ago, when fiction and non-fiction fed off of one another and the methods of one would influence the other. Studies, such as this, could be written with an eye for drama and with an arc of inevitable tragedy (or, at least, farce) without being denigrated as slight, amateurish works. But those days are past, and now one must make one's historial productions fairly bristle with obscure references and academic critical super-structure. Such hulks soon sink into the depths of obscurity. This little, light schooner, however, deserves to stay afloat.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A fmaous and extremely well-written study. 4 Nov 2013
By medalman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a renowned study of the last members of the Medici family. I had owned it before, but could not find my copy, so I replced it with this edition.
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