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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book with an intriguing view of the Renaissance, 12 Jan 1997
By A Customer
This is an absolutely beautiful book -- almost worth buying for the quality of the paper and print and the illustrations alone. But it's more than that. The initial chapters on the role of the Eastern Church in preserving Greek learning and its transmission to the West are fascinating and revealing. The overall theme -- that the engine of the Renaissance was acquisition, not some abstract desire for learning -- is less well played out, but nonetheless well worth pondering. A wonderful history in the Barbara Tuchman style: educated, provocative and highly readable.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The power of money, commerce and books, 22 Feb 2005
By 
Ignacio Recalde Canals (Mallorca, Spain) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is a lovely book that one enjoys both reading and having in your hands. It is focused mainly on the power of money and commerce and its influence in producing and spreading the Renaissance. In some parts it should be regarded as the antithesis of the official thesis as, for instance, I find difficult to believe that Spain's Catholic kings, Ferdinand and Isabella, trusted so much that Columbus was going to find a new route to the Indies that decided to get rid of the Jewish population, something they could not afford in normal conditions. But at least that makes you thing that there could have been secondary motivations in decisions which are thought to be purely religious. Something similar is shown for the german Princes by describing the relationship between support to Luteran Reformation and the struggle against banking monopolies in Germany. But what is clearly and most vividly established is the amazing revolution taking place as a result of widespread difussion of printed books and the importance of commercial profit beneath it (for the printers, the authors were seldom paid).
The main merit of this book I think is that proofs that money and the desire to have properties and boast of them was as important for the functioning of the Renaissance world as for today's, and so it makes us closer psychologically to people living 500 years ago. I'm convinced that the Fuggers, the richest bankers of his age would catch up in a couple of years if transported to our age.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The more things change, the more they stay the same..., 16 Mar 1998
By A Customer
As someone who has been teaching the history of the arts for many years, the Renaissance is often a frustrating period to teach. Most of the histories stress the "Great Men" approach, discussing the "genius" of Leonardo, Michaelangelo, et al, as though these dudes had been beamed into Italy from the planet Krypton. Lisa Jardine has finally anchored the artistic and humanistic achievements of the Renaissance in the believable realities of the rise of commodities trading, political gamesmanship, mutlicultural curiosity, and emerging market savvy, making the Renaissance sound remarkably like the present day. Jardine permits us to see Renaissance art in the same terms that the patrons who commissioned these works saw them, which is no small achievement. Her discussion of the relation between Luther's critique of the Pope and the rise of German business interests is quietly brilliant. On top of all this, the book is lusciously illustrated, a treat for the eye as well as the mind. If you think you just don't "get" the Renaissance, you need to read this book, for Jardine has provided us with insights not just into the past, but into how we think and act today.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fresh perspective on the Renaissance, 2 May 2009
By 
Champollion (Shropshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Worldly Goods: New History of the Renaissance (Hardcover)
I enjoyed this book immensely. The author takes a different look on the Renaissance. It is enjoyable, informative and should attract a wide readership. Furthermore, it is beautifully produced with relevant illustrations and easy format design. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 13 April 2007
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This is so good that I can't believe it's out of print! The aethetics of the production are superb, making this a book you want to touch and own due to the high quality of the print and paper - important because of the number of illustrations and colour plates it contains.

Jardine is one of the 'new' Renaissance historians who focus not on all the glory and art of the period (or not only) but also on the darker underside: the commercial exploitation, the rampant materialism, the slavery which underpins empire, the massacres and murderous annihilation of entire indigeinous populations. Despite that, this isn't a negative book, nor one which re-writes 'history' for political purposes. Jardine is herself fascinated and enthralled by her subject matter and that excitement comes over. When so much popular history is written by 'amateurs' it's both refreshing and a relief to read something by an academic who combines academic rigour with a novelist's touch.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful, informative book - scholarly yet easy to read, 9 Jan 2004
This is a fantastic book.
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Worldly Goods: New History of the Renaissance
Worldly Goods: New History of the Renaissance by Lisa Jardine (Hardcover - 13 Sep 1996)
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