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The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance Paperback – 2 Dec 2004


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Paperback, 2 Dec 2004
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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Pimlico; New edition edition (2 Dec. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844130983
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844130986
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 685,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"An excellent history... an entertaining, if ultimately dispiriting tale of the rise and fall of an ambitious banking family." (Ian Thomson Sunday Times)

"Strathern has done his research thoroughly, and tells a good story well." (Sunday Telegraph)

Book Description

A vivid and dramatic account of one of the most influential families in Italian history

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER on 29 Jun. 2009
Format: Paperback
While this takes the Florentine Medici family as its guiding organisational structure, this book actually covers far more. Strathern guides us effortlessly from the first Medici in late medieval Florence, through the rise of the family to the Medici popes and marriage into French royalty, to their decline. En route he makes small diversions that cover the artists patronised by the Medici (Botticelli, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael), as well as other key figures of the European Renaissance such as Savonarola, Machiavelli, the Borgias, Luther.

The narrative is compelling without ever feeling too heavy, so perfect for getting a quick overview of the politics and history of this period. What Strathern does very well is `join the dots', map out the family and their social, political, historical and intellectual context. I've seen this described as `history lite' and agree that this doesn't - and doesn't set out - to cover anything in detail: so if you're looking for in-depth analysis, you will certainly need to look elsewhere. But for the general reader or someone wanting an easily digestible and immensely enjoyable summary this is perfect.

My only small quibble is that given the nature of the book it would have been helpful to have a far more extended bibliography: the further reading is fairly patchy and a bit out of date. But a small flaw in an otherwise brilliant sprint through a complex period.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 Jan. 2004
Format: Hardcover
It was exceedingly well written and very enjoyable. The only criticism I would have was that I expected some more exploration of the wider family.
I also do have to say that as I was not particularly well acquainted with the Medici and that particular period in detail, it was at a very good level for me. If you are better acquainted with that era, the book may possibly be a bit simple for you.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kaarle Wasama on 8 Oct. 2009
Format: Hardcover
I would like to share my experience both as a reader and as a student.
When I first opened the book and started reading, the prologue alone (deals with the Pazzi assassination attempt at Lorenzo il Magnifico), entertained me so greatly that I had no choice but to go on. Unlike many history books, this one can make you crack up with its clever use of language in some parts. The book is very valuable as a history book. It teaches its lesson in a manner that makes its reader addicted and truly interested.
As a student, the value of this book is enormous to me. The book goes deep into the Medici family's maneuverings on all fronts; economical, social, political, international...
I'm sorry to say (but not really) that I can come up with no minuses for this book.
I couldn't be happier with it.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Sept. 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a really good piece of popular history. As another review has said, some readers may find it insufficiently academic - in that respect it contrasts with April Blood by Lauro Martines, a book about one aspect of Medici history that is academically superb but, in my view, poorly written for non-academics. However, for the general reader this book is spot on.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cardew Robinson on 19 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback
A solid, popular history of the legendary (or infamous depending on your point of view) Medici clan.

I would recommend this book for those who, like me, have always heard of them and who want to fill in the gaps in their knowledge. For my part, I came to this book having come across them in Charles Nicholl's biog of Leonardo da Vinci, and having also read JJ Norwich's "Venice".

If there's a downside it's that in trying to cover all aspects of the Medici's activities and influence (art, local and national politics, the Catholic Church, banking, commerce and so on) the author can only do so much, and while you never feel he's cutting corners, by the same token he has to gloss some otherwise very interesting topics.

However, he's wise enough to print a very good bibliography to send you off to read further and deeper into the subject.

Very good as a one off primer, then, or for whetting your appetite for further reading about a fascinating and dangerous place and time.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By "sanjey106" on 7 Mar. 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is fantastic. Even if you have a passing interest in the Renaissance, even art, European History or Italy, you should by this book. For historical characters, they seem alive and the Medici themselves are fantastic to read about.
Deception, Scheming, Murder, it almost seems like fiction. But unbelievabley everything is correct and the author has gone to unbelievable lenghts to bring the most truthful renaissance book I've ever read.
Also if the Medici affairs weren't enough, the chapters are laiden with Renaissance greats like Da Vinci, Brunelleshci, Donatello and many more, giving you a suprisingly in depth look into each artist's, architect's or humanist's life.
From humble beginings beneath the mountains, to popes, to queens, to trading across the known world, the author has compated this Renaissance history into a fantastic, well written read. A brilliant book!!! Buy it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl on 2 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
An intriguing and interesting read for those who want to delve into the Medici family and renaissance Florence. Strathern's writing style is engaging as he surprises the reader with fascinating bursts of fact. Also briefly covered are the lives of artists, philosophers and the like whose lives were intertwined with the Medici and without which Strathern's portrayal of Renaissance Florence would not have been such a success. A good starting point for those who don't usually venture into non-fiction.
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