The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance
By Paul Strathern
Published in January 2009
Thibault’s Score: 3/5
Paul Strathern writes very clear, concise, and non-wordy survey histories about Italian history. After reading Venice: A New History, I was very curious to see what else he had.
The Medici is an excellent narrative history that follows the emergence of the family from the mists of history, their rise to power as bankers, Cosimo’s coup, his brilliant grandson Lorenzo, their temporary downfall, subsequent re-emergence as Popes, royal marriages in France and Germany, and finally their final obese and mentally ill scions.
The history of the Medici family is a fascinating rabbit hole which lays the foundations for many modern trends including banking, absolute monarchy, and the modern state.
Strathern’s writing style is clear and engaging. My main reproach is that I wish he spent significantly more time explaining how Medici banking worked. I was hoping to learn more about the details of the financial transactions that they engaged in.
This is a decent book, but I think I’ll read more about the Medici’s to find a definitive recommendation on the topic.
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