Jonathan's Reviews > The House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall

The House of Medici by Christopher Hibbert
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's review
Jul 19, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: non-fiction, italian-history

I'm somewhat torn about this book. The writing is well done and the subject matter, the Medici, SHOULD be interesting. But the author seems to focus on the more trivial details of this family's life and times. So much detail goes in to describing what the Medici liked to eat, what they liked to wear, what they did for fun, it sometimes seems like this is the special Medici issue of USWeekly. The title of the book would seem indicate the focus of the book is HOW the Medici came to power and HOW they eventually lost it, but these subjects are treated almost as secondary. A typical passage in the book is a sentence like "Cosimo de Medici became wealthy through his business acumen and hard-working nature.", followed by a paragraph on the pageant he threw to celebrate St. Laughably Obscure Day. Some people, I'm sure, would find the art history, culinary details, and wardrobe descriptions interesting, but I didn't buy this book for that. I bought the book to find out why the Medici, rather than any other Florentine family, rose to dominate the city for so long, and why they eventually lost their grip on power. A more accurate title for this book might be "The Medici: Their Lives and Times" or "The Medici: A Cultural History". Maybe there's just not a lot of information available on how the Medici rose to economic prominence, but in that case don't subtitle your book 'Its Rise and Fall'.
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Reading Progress

July 19, 2010 – Started Reading
July 19, 2010 – Shelved
July 22, 2010 – Finished Reading
November 8, 2010 – Shelved as: non-fiction
April 14, 2011 – Shelved as: italian-history

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Alex That review is awesome.

I haven't read it, but my impression is that Tim Parks' Medici Money: Banking, Metaphysics, and Art in Fifteenth-Century Florence may be the book you're looking for.

Jonathan Thanks Alex! I'll definitely have to check out Medici Money at some point.

message 3: by Kyle (new)

Kyle I'm only about 25 pages and I'm getting that vibe as well

Johan I liked it but had the same reservations about it as Jonathan. Would have been nice with mote high level business history in here

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