Venice

Venice

A New History

Format
Ebook
Price
$16.99
 
Additional Formats
  • Ebook
  • ISBN 9781101601136
  • 464 Pages
  • Penguin Books
  • Adult

Overview

An extraordinary chronicle of Venice, its people, and its grandeur

Thomas Madden’s majestic, sprawling history of Venice is the first full portrait of the city in English in almost thirty years. Using long-buried archival material and a wealth of newly translated documents, Madden weaves a spellbinding story of a place and its people, tracing an arc from the city’s humble origins as a lagoon refuge to its apex as a vast maritime empire and Renaissance epicenter to its rebirth as a modern tourist hub.

Madden explores all aspects of Venice’s breathtaking achievements: the construction of its unparalleled navy, its role as an economic powerhouse and birthplace of capitalism, its popularization of opera, the stunning architecture of its watery environs, and more. He sets these in the context of the rise and fall of the Byzantine Empire, the endless waves of Crusades to the Holy Land, and the awesome power of Turkish sultans. And perhaps most critically, Madden corrects the stereotype of Shakespeare’s money-lending Shylock that has distorted the Venetian character, uncovering instead a much more complex and fascinating story, peopled by men and women whose ingenuity and deep faith profoundly altered the course of civilization.

Praise

“Breezy, cheerful, evenhanded, Madden debunks myths about Venetian decadence, and brushes aside ugly whispers about greedy, unscrupulous merchants.  When a colorful character pops up (Marco Polo, Casanova), he makes the most of it in his brisk, no-nonsense prose.”
—New York Times

“Madden paints a vivid portrait of “a city without land, an empire without borders.” His engaging work enters a sparse historiography that includes Roger Crowley’s City of Fortune (2012) and John Julius Norwich’s enduring A History of Venice (1982) and separates itself by offering a readable overview backed by solid research.  Readers will come away from Madden’s Venice with newfound respect for one of the great jewels of Western civilization.”
—Booklist (starred review)

“Plenty of books focus on Venice the romantic ruin. This one offers a welcome reminder of its historic role over a millennium in the development of a modern economic system and the maintenance of the global balance of power.”

—Kirkus

“A lively and lucid survey of Venice’s colorful history.”

—The Seattle Times

“A savory, tantalizing, but not-so-serene history of La Serenessima

—Publishers Weekly

 “Madden proves the perfect guide to the magical city of Venice. His history is not only authoritative and encyclopedic, encompassing everything from the plundering of Attila the Hun to Katharine Hepburn’s tribulations while filming Summertime, it is also unfailingly readable and amusing—a must-read for Europhiles, armchair travelers, and history buffs.”
—Ross King, author of Brunelleschi’s Dome and Leonardo and The Last Supper

“Thomas Madden’s portrait of Venice glows like one of the city’s own rich and colorful artworks—a tapestry woven from a thousand tales, with unforgettable characters, daring exploits, and inspiring triumphs against overwhelming odds. It’s all here: free enterprise and free thought, voyages and empire-building between East and West, and some of the world’s most magnificent achievements in architecture, painting, and music. All the threads of Venetian history are traced with a scholar’s zeal for accuracy. But Madden is also a born storyteller, with a keen eye for the illuminating detail that can bring a scene to life, from Roman refugees fleeing Attila the Hun to modern tourists invading the Rialto. For those who think they know Venice, Madden’s book will be a revelation. For newcomers, this comprehensive overview is essential reading.”
—John R. Hale, author of Lords of the Sea

“Madden is that rare talent—a serious scholar who tells a gripping story. He breathes life into Venetian history in all its subtle complexity, rescuing the Venetians from the common stereotype of one-dimensional merchants. This book is a fantastic read.”
—Lars Brownworth, author of Lost to the West: The Forgotten Byzantine Empire that Rescued Western Civilization

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