Format Hardcover
Publication Date 12/24/13
ISBN 9781605984896
Trim Size / Pages 9.3 x 6.4 in / 368

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The Venetians

A New History: From Marco Polo to Casanova

Paul Strathern

A colorful new history of Venice that illuminates the character of the great city-state by shining a light on some of the most celebrated personalities of European history—Petrarch, Marco Polo, Galileo, Titian, Vivaldi, and Casanova.

The Republic of Venice was the first great economic, cultural, and naval power of the modern Western world.  After winning the struggle for ascendency in the late 13th century, the Republic enjoyed centuries of unprecedented glory and built a trading empire which at its apogee reached as far afield as China, Syria and West Africa. This golden period only drew to an end with the Republic’s eventual surrender to Napoleon. The Venetians illuminates the character of the Republic during these illustrious years by shining a light on some of the most celebrated personalities of European history—Petrarch, Marco Polo, Galileo, Titian, Vivaldi, Casanova. Frequently, though, these emblems of the city found themselves at odds with the Venetian authorities who prized stability above all else, and were notoriously suspicious of any "cult of personality." Was this very tension perhaps the engine for the Republic’s unprecedented rise? Rich with biographies of some of the most exalted characters who have ever lived, The Venetians is a refreshing and authoritative new look at the history of the most evocative of city states.

Paul Strathern is a Somerset Maugham prize-winning novelist, and his nonfiction works include The Artist, the Philosopher, and the Warrior: The Intersecting Lives of Da Vinci, Machiavelli, and Borgia and the World They Shaped (Bantam), Napoleon in Egypt (Bantam) and Mendeleyev’s Dream: The Quest for the Elements (Thomas Dunne). He lives in England.

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Endorsements & Reviews

“Using his novelist's eye and a historian's sweep, Strathern makes you care deeply for these complex figures.” The Washington Post Book World
“Very entertaining and well-written book. Strathern is very careful about his sources, so that a finely balanced picture emerges.” The Times Literary Supplement
“Award-winning novelist Strathern turns up plenty of surprises in an enthralling history of the first of Napoleon's world-class debacles. Stories of powerful men making disastrous decisions have an endless fascination, and Strathern makes the most of it in this entertaining account.” Publishers Weekly