City of Fortune: How Venice Won and Lost a Naval Empire Paperback – 2 Aug 2012
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'Hugely readable, well-written and informative ... Crowley is excellent.' --Stella Tillyard, Daily Telegraph
'Roger Crowley makes a trustworthy and wonderfully eloquent guide ... Crowley is such a natural narrative historian, with such an eye for colourful but telling details and such a knack for dramatic character sketches, that he remains a constant joy to read.' --Christopher Hart, Sunday Times
'... the rise and fall of Venice's empire is an irresistible story and Crowley, with his rousing descriptive gifts and scholarly attention to detail, is its perfect chronicler. For centuries, he notes, the republic's sailors returned home with ''gold, spices, plague and grief''; and in this compelling book, like a scrupulous Venetian merchant, he weighs out full measures of each.' --Michael Prodger, Financial Times
'[An] entertaining and well-researched book, the entire story of this small, fascinating power is laid out.' --Catholic Herald
In City of Fortune: How Venice Won and Lost a Naval Empire, from Roger Crowley - the prize-winning author of Empires of the Sea - comes an epic work of narrative maritime history.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I have spent the best part of my last 20 summers touring around the Venetian lagoon;I never looked properly !I have learnt more from reading this wonderful book at home than from my unfortunately misguided visits.
The history of the rise anf fall of Venice as a great maritime power is an absolutely terrific story.The 4th crusade and the sacking of Constantinople, the response to the rebellion in Crete, the savage war against their bitter rivals from genoa,etc show the writer's prodigious ability to develop unforgettable,emotionally textured characters and stories.
And when you think that early on'' the city's prosperity rested on nothing tangible-no land holdings,no natural resources,no agricultural production or large population.There was literally no solid ground underfoot.''
Next time, Mr Crowley could end up writing about the most uninteresting topic, but I will be the first one to rush and buy it.
As one comment says, the book is more about some highlights of the history of Venice rather than a complete history. Nevertheless, its quite consistent and relatively well detailed.
There are some average or bad comments but I dont think they are justified. Read the book and judge it yourself. Its only 300/400 pages.
The main attraction is the book I found was its easyness to read. Because its written in such a way that you dont feel time passing. It is not perhaps the best detailed and academic work but it is relatively decent and serious work.
Episodes such as the long drawn fight with Genoa, the siege of Constantinople and the holding of Crete are very well treated.
The battle of Lepanto for some reason was not very clear. Similarly, the taking over by the Turks is also not explained in details or very clearly.
Another good thing, are the numerous sketches, pictures, maps, etc that "plunge" you back in time. However, I understand the book is mainly focus on How Venice won and lost its empire but I would have liked to see a bit more on the life in Venice and the city itself. Because Venice is such a touristic city nowadays, its likely to be read by weekenders looking for a bit of history to read on the city. So a bit more focus on the city itself and not its empire could be welcome by potential buyers.
In summary, a very good accessible and enjoyable book to read.
Crowley takes us on an enchanting historical journey from the decline of Byzantine Empire, to its substitution by Venice, concentrating exclusively on the political-economic history and staying clear of the traditional touristy histories of fine arts and buildings represented by RuskinThe Stones of Venice (1851-53). He treated in depth the capture of Constantinople in June 1204 by Doge Enrico Dandolo, during the Fourth Crusade, depicted four centuries later in Tintoretto's large canvass in the Doge's Palace; the consolidation of its outposts down the Adriatic and the Mediterranean as far as the Black Sea; the galley battles - the Battle of Chioggia in 1379-80 - fought against its principal commercial rival, Genoa, under the banner of St George (Britain's own St George!), a red cross on a white background, until the appearance of its real eastern enemy raised its head at the end of the Fourteenth century.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Was as good a read as I was expecting. I was expecting the Book to proceed upto the final demise of Venice power with its fall to the French during the Revolutionary wars at the... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Stephen M. Tindle
I'm not one for throwing five stars at a book willy-nilly but this book is a cracker. A highly readable and hugely enjoyable account of la Serenissima's glory years as masters of... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Brookfield
This book was very engaging and riveting. I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned a great deal, so much so that my only disappointment is I would have loved to see it continue much... Read morePublished 4 months ago by jonny a
As per usual Crowley writes in a manner that holds the readers interest throughout. The wheeling and dealing of Venice oblivious to the threat of the Ottoman's until it was too... Read morePublished 6 months ago by japbike1000
Excellent read... Flowed well from phase to phase introducing the great characters of the Venetian state as it went.Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
He is up their with Antony Beevor as one of best narrative history writers in the world. I have got all his books and this one was Justas good. Read morePublished 11 months ago by P I
Having seen evidence of Venetian occupation in Crete, Croatia and elsewhere I thought it was time to learn about this fascinating medieval maritime Empire. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Mr. D. W. Hall
I read this book in a day, not because it was short but because I couldn't put it down.Published 15 months ago by justin p young
Great book. Makes reading compelling. Fascinating period in history.Published 16 months ago by Gaucher
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