Spotlighting Lorenzo is of course one way to personalize the Renaissance (Brooks and Walworth did likewise in The World Awakes) and on occasion--as when Lorenzo, to no one's discomfiture, celebrates his forthcoming wedding with a tournament dedicated to his mistress--the present volume provides a revealing entree. Much of the characterization of the period, however, is a matter of extravagant adjectives and stale generalizations, and two of its most notable aspects, art and philosophy, appear considerably diluted (e.g. Donatello without atmospheric space or psychological tensions; Neo-Platonism without Plotinus--as if it were a Renaissance invention). Of Lorenzo's myriad pursuits, the two he had least affinity for--politics and banking--are the most painstakingly set forth. The attempted Pazzi coup and the succeeding Papal-Neapolitan war against Florence pinpoint papal intrigue and battle-wariness (mercenaries would rather pillage than fight) and lead into Lorenzo's concern with maintaining a balance of power among the several states; the misfortunes of the Medici bank exemplify what the author calls an ""inherent vicious cycle""--riches to power to obligation to support rules to risk to bankruptcy. The book scores not as a broad canvas but as ancillary history; the illustrations, often tenuously related to the text and not always properly placed when they are germane, contribute less than usual in this series.