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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant romp through the European Renaissance
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...
Published on 29 Jun 2009 by Roman Clodia

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very good & informative
This book gives a really thorough and informative history of the medici family and the artists and cities they were connected with. If you want more background info on the sights in Florence and the works of art you'll see there then it's great. Doesn't go much into historical analysis or overview which can make it a bit flat towards the end.
Published 13 months ago by A.Corf


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant romp through the European Renaissance, 29 Jun 2009
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance (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
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read and a good introduction to the Medici, 12 Jan 2004
By A Customer
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
5.0 out of 5 stars I am loving it., 8 Oct 2009
By 
Kaarle Wasama "Wasama Jr." (Finland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview of the Medici family, 1 Sep 2004
By A Customer
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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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Renaissance Book I've ever read., 7 Mar 2005
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
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite so far, 2 Sep 2009
This review is from: The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance (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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid survey of the key events and players., 19 Jan 2012
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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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply brilliant, 27 April 2005
By 
Paul Hunt (Cardiff, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I bought the hardback version of this book aftert seeing the TV series as I wanted to find out more.
The book is one of the best I've read: easy to read, packed full of revealing facts and stories about the peoples and the times. Amazing what they all got up to.
It's also easy to read so if, like me, you're not an intellectual type, you'll have no trouble getting through the 400+ pages. Left me wanting to find out more.
Great stuff.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting times for Europe, 2 Mar 2008
By 
Beach Buff (Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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The book covers not only the changes that took place in this most civilised corner of medievil Italy but also describes how all this took place at the same time the Spanish discovered the new world and also when Martin Luther nailed his treatise to the church door in Germany. The world would never be the same again and this book describes how the Medici's ensured that by fair means or foul the family would ride out any storm and always come out on top.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific book!, 31 Mar 2013
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Terrific book! Very easy to read and provided a fascinating and succinct description of what the 'renaissance' was all about!
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The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance
The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance by Paul Strathern (Paperback - 4 Oct 2007)
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