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Street Fight in Naples: A City's Unseen History
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I have no doubt that the (at best) quirky, and (at worst) confusing chronology of events made sense to Peter Robb as he was (planning?)and writing the book. At times the disjointed and fragmented approach applied to the narrative almost works; and many of the author's rich and vivid descriptions of the city made me believe I could almost smell and taste the different 'flavours' found in the crowded, dirty and dark streets of Naples. However, for anyone, like myself, who has never visited Naples and knows very little about the city's history, reading the book is too often a disorienting experience as the author jumps eras and events in an almost random manner. The overall effect is of a rather jumbled and at times confusing (and confused) account. I found I had to put the book down on several occasions in order to consult other books to check out some contextual details to help me better understand what the author was trying to communicate. This is a shame because there is no doubt that Peter Robb knows Naples intimately. I just wish he hadn't made the assumption that readers' knowledge of the city would be equal to the structural device adopted by him. It is still worth reading for the highlights (e.g. the sections on artists such as Caravaggio).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 17 December 2012
Although this book has some flaws, (it goes on a bit in places) I really enjoyed it. I know Naples quite well and am aware of the artists and paintings covered in the book, so it was especially interesting to me. I read it on my Kindle, on holiday on the Amalfi coast, with an iPad handy to look up the works of art that were referenced (essential I felt as there were few illustrations, even in the hard back version). My friend was subjected to my reading passages allowed, and eventually downloaded it on his iPad because he liked the sound of it. He did not enjoy it as much as I did, possibly because he did not have my background in the arts. The book is full of delightful stories, both historical and contemporary and, if you love the area and art history, it is wonderful.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 1 September 2011
Robb can be a frustrating writer, as he wanders in and out of subjects. Midnight in Sicily was wonderful. This book has a lot going for it, but I did find the organization vexing now and then.
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on 15 December 2014
A beautiful and profound evocation of Napoli.

A travel guide it is not, and if you have not been to the city itself the way the material is organised may appear bizarre. But Peter Robb is our guide into the art of several key figures, Caravaggio, Boccaccio and others, still in Naples. This is the entrance into the many facets of Napoli to show that which not seen by a casual visitor or tourist.

Whilst it took a while to see what he was getting at and, yes it will have you consulting other sources, I enjoyed this approach to Naples. Rather than tales and facts about the conventions of historical buildings or political figures or the usual kinds of events that make up a tourist guide or history book by this structure I was forced to think again about how history is told. Why not tell the story of the place and its people through works of art and the artists who made them? This tells you more about the people of Naples, and their relationship to power and those who have ruled there.

What appears to be an argument between two Neapolitan women will lead you to Piazza Mercato and the revolt of 1647, and where Pagano was hung after the revolution of 1799. You will go and visit there on your next visit, I did!

Without the meandering fog of many who try to do 'psychogeography' Peter Robb manages to carry the present, past and even the future of this wonderful place. If you love Naples try it, this book is worthy of the city.
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on 24 October 2014
I am a big fan of Peter Robb's books with there eclectic and jumbled mix of history, politics, food and art. However Street fight in Naples didn't hit really hit the mark for me. It's a good book but the mix is missing, it's predominantly an art history book with Naples as the backdrop.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 19 December 2011
I lived as a student in Naples and unfortunately did not realise that this is a book about art; not the very colorfull things that go on in Naples.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 July 2013
It arrived promptly and in excellent condition. This book was not easy reading and contained a lot of facts and figures about little known characters of the past. Initially I did google the names to know a little more about them, but there were just too many, so I soon gave up. I would not have finished reading this book except it was chosen by my Book Club. When we met to discuss the book I found I was one of very few who actually did finish reading it!
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1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 14 November 2011
street fight in naples by peter robb a panorama of naples claimed to be a thousand year history bit mainly stuck in the 17th century bit fragmented and dull even in the story of the fisherman demologue Masaniello, who is just one of the charactors
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