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The Ugly Renaissance: Sex, Greed, Violence And Depravity In An Age Of Beauty (2014)

by Alexander Lee(Favorite Author)
3.23 of 5 Votes: 3
0385536593 (ISBN13: 9780385536592)
review 1: I picked this up because I had a sudden craving for some down-and-dirty, salacious history. The cover blurb promises something along these lines...yet it's actually a more sedate and thoughtful analysis of the seamier side of the Renaissance. It does reveal some interesting deprevaties and degradations along the way, but it also alternates between the obscure and the very well-known. The end result is a book with chapters I rushed to devour...and chapters that left me thinking "same old, same old". The opening fifty pages in particular seem more interested in the story of Michaelangelo and his connection to Florence: a city that dominates the entire book, with only a small segue into Rome. Interesting, occasionally fascinating, yet less exciting than I thought it woul... mored be...and occasionally frustrating in the well-worn paths it travels.
review 2: Not recommended--there are much better and far more insightful books on Renaissance history. Actually, this may be one of the most poorly executed, banal books of history I've ever read, which is saying a great deal, as I read a great deal of history. This book doesn't deserve a long review. It was pedantic, suffering from ghastly editing. The author's analysis and insights were superficial and totally unoriginal. He never found a false dichotomy he didn't like and a complex matter he couldn't reduce to the unintelligible and uninteresting banal observation. The author seems to conflate contemporary historical prejudices and overlay them on the past. This methodology masquerades as analysis throughout the book. His historical understanding of the interaction between Islam and Christianity is grossly deficient. As are many other historical representations and relationships.It's rare I've read such a large book exploring a glittering period of human interest that in the end was made less interesting because of the author's bland thesis that he doesn't convincingly substantiate.The book was occasionally interesting, but one has to be suspect of even that given the author's admitted use of the techniques of fiction to fill in the gaps.Great idea for a book, but poorly executed by a rather superficial historian who I suspect had dreams of being commercial successful with a "popular" book of history. less
Reviews (see all)
WOW! Gotta say this was a bit different, a little hard to following sometimes but interesting.
Gave up after just a few chapters. Disorganized and selective historical presentation.
stopped reading
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