“A vivid and at times startling reappraisal of one of the most notorious dynasties in history . . . If you thought you knew the Borgias, this book will surprise you.”—Tracy Borman, author ofQueen of the ConquerorandElizabeth’s … see full wiki
This is a very well-written book that is geared for the average historical book reader. It tells the tale of the Borgia family, from its first pope, through the death of the last famous (or infamous) person Cesare. Along the way we become acquainted with various Borgia relatives, but most of all with Rodrigo Borgia, who becomes Pope Alexander VI.
This was a time of great fragmentation on the Italian peninsula, with warlords in control of various towns, and many of those theoretically owing allegiance and money and men to the Pope when he needed an army for one thing or another. It was also an era when churchmen led armies, particularly cardinals, who often were more bloodthirsty than their own soldiers.
It's a fascinating look at those times, and we get views not only of Italy, but Naples, France, Spain, Venice, etc.. It really could get confusing, but the author keeps everything very straightforward. His main contention is that the Borgia family members were not the inhuman monsters that later writers made them out to be. The Pope was a nepotist, that's true, but that was not unusual for the time. Murders were committed for one reason or another, and often later writers would place blame for these murders, and also poisonings, on the Borgias, who, it must be said, were extremely unpopular in their own time, and absolutely vilified after they were gone.
I greatly enjoyed the revisionist tenor of the book, for it's quite difficult to present a true picture about people and events from 500 years ago. The author has done the best he could, and I applaud him for it, and recommend this book highly.
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