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Venice, A Maritime Republic Paperback – 1 Nov 1973


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Review

Students now have an analysis of Venice's fortunes over the whole course of its independent history that they can trust... A crisp and clearly visualized narrative.

(Times Literary Supplement)

The best one-volume history of Venice in any language.

(American Historical Review)

An up-to-date and comprehensive history of Venice has long been needed, and Professor Lane, as the doyen of historians of Venice, was the obvious man to supply it.

(J.H. Elliott New York Review of Books)

Frederic Lane has achieved what is the often unfulfilled dream of every historian who has devoted his entire work to the exploration of partial aspects of a single broad subject: he has given us a comprehensive, thoughtful, readable, beautifully illustrated general history of Venice from the origins to the beginning of decline.

(Speculum)


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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars 9 reviews
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars VENICE: A MARITIME REPUBLIC 11 April 2000
By Louise Berndt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Frederic C. Lane's classic work is still the best general history on Venice. The frontpiece chronology alone is an invaluable reference for the scholar or the engaged tourist. The dean of Venice's historians, his work ties the maritime, merchantile, and industrial basis that spured trade and established the wealth of the Venetian republic to the city's cultural manifestations in art and politics.
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, but poor paperback edition. 30 Nov. 2006
By oakheart - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Lane's classic reference on Venice offers detailed coverage of the most important facet of the Venitian Empire--its maritime dominance. The prose is scholarly, yet still concise and readable. Compared to Lane, Norwich's weaker Venice book reads like a rambling travel log.

However, the figures in this paperback edition of Lane are very poorly reproduced. The maps look like they were copied on a xerox machine, rendering the place names illegible. The photographs and depictions of period artwork are virtually unintelligible. Interested readers might be better served to seek out the hardcover edition.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 3 Mar. 2009
By X. L. Simon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is one of the two classic histories of Venice; the other that by Norwich. As reference it is the superior volume. I keep returning to it on a very wide variety of topics on Venice. Thus, for instance, it does an excellent job of explaining the ownership and command structures, including the important and active role of common sailors aboard Venetian merchant ships. If you want to understand why Venice is so important to the understanding of what makes some democracies much more successful than others, this is a must book.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an anomalous history 7 July 2007
By W Boudville - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In a time of absolute monarchies almost everywhere in Europe and Asia, Lane describes the history of an early republic, that managed to prosper for centuries. Nor was this the only anomaly of Venice. It had barely any land area, compared to many of its rivals like Constantinople. Of course, as the book explains, its most striking feature was the its placement in what was essentially a swamp, for defensive purposes.

The book chronicles its rapid ascent and ingenuity in being flexible about trading with anyone. The many sea battles also attest to its continued vigilance. Readers might note the resemblences to Britain and its empire.

The writing style is quite readable to a non-historian. Enhanced perhaps by a decision not to have footnotes. The illustrations are also well chosen.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid History, but a little Jumbled 18 Dec. 2007
By M. Sutton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
For someone with a serious interest in the development of the Venetian Empire on all fronts, this is a great and overwhelmingly informative book. Lane has done his homework, and casts light on all of the important corners of Venetian life--political, military, social, artistic, mercantile, etc.

However, his assembly of this weatlh of information is a bit jagged, faltering especially in the books final third. He doesn't follow true chronology, but skips back and fourth between miniscule details from various centuries in the matter of a paragraph or two. This happens, too, in the great "Paris: Biography of a City" by Colin Jones, but he smartly groups these extrapolations out of the timeline into special subsections of his chapters. In Lane, though, it's very easy to find yourself lost at sea unless you really take your time. And lingering in his text can prove tedious, as the onslaught of dates and numbers for all order of minute detail (that could indeed prove very insightful in footnote form) that in the body of the text is more distracting than enlightening.
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