History as it should be: informative but also lively, thrilling, and hugely entertaining.



A vivid, dramatic account of conspiracy and murder in 15th-century Florence.

One of the most illustrious dynasties of the Renaissance, the Medici began their ascension in a city-state reeling from debt and high taxes after years of expensive warfare. Within three generations, they had established a merchant bank and a commodities empire that made them the richest family in Florence. Through brilliant political machinations—Machiavelli is generally supposed to have been inspired by them when he wrote The Prince—they became the leaders of the so-called Florentine republic. The Medici dynasty culminated in Lorenzo the Magnificent; aggressive and ruthless, he was also a brilliant poet and a lavish patron who commissioned works from great artists and composers of the day. Lorenzo’s tyranny inevitably fostered discontent and cabal. Members of the Pazzi, an older Florentine family resentful of the parvenu Medici, attempted to assassinate Lorenzo in the city’s cathedral on an April Sunday in 1478. They failed but managed to kill his younger brother Giuliano. An enraged Lorenzo struck back, and through a virtuoso admixture of murder and legislation virtually eliminated the Pazzi’s existence. Renaissance historian Martines (Power and Imagination: City-States in Renaissance Italy, not reviewed) tells the story with a breathless enthusiasm that is infectious. He has walked the Florentine streets and buildings many times, conveying the agreeable impression of a personal tour. This story is not for the squeamish, however. It was a hideously violent era, and Martines does not flinch when describing the gruesome punishments meted out to the Pazzi conspirators and their innocent relatives. The only minor flaw occurs in the chapter describing the attempted assassination, where the unnecessary reintroduction of the main players suggests that the author originally intended it as the first chapter.

History as it should be: informative but also lively, thrilling, and hugely entertaining.

Pub Date: April 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-19-515295-6

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2003

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The name of C.S. Lewis will no doubt attract many readers to this volume, for he has won a splendid reputation by his brilliant writing. These sermons, however, are so abstruse, so involved and so dull that few of those who pick up the volume will finish it. There is none of the satire of the Screw Tape Letters, none of the practicality of some of his later radio addresses, none of the directness of some of his earlier theological books.

Pub Date: June 15, 1949

ISBN: 0060653205

Page Count: 212

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1949

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Internationally renowned because of his earlier books, among them tape Letters, Surprised by Joy, Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis making religion provoking, memorable and delightful is still more latest Reflections on the Psalms. Though he protests that he writes learned about things in which he is unlearned himself, the reader is likely thank God for his wise ignorance. Here especially he throws a clear lightly or not, on many of the difficult psalms, such as those which abound with and cursing, and a self-centeredness which seems to assume' that God must be side of the psalmist. These things, which make some psalm singers pre not there, have a right and proper place, as Mr. Lewis shows us. They of Psalms more precious still. Many readers owe it to themselves to read flections if only to learn this hard but simple lesson. Urge everyone to book.

Pub Date: June 15, 1958

ISBN: 015676248X

Page Count: 166

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1958

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