As an educational read it ranks near the top.
The very human tendencies of some of the most brilliant artists of all time. Like the fact that Donatello, I believe, eschewed money to the extent that he hung from the ceiling of his studio a basket where he placed all his commissioned earnings. The money was there for anyone working for him to take as needed, for personal or artistic needs.
A nice voice that gives a very continental flavor to the story.
It affirmed for me the great glory of the genius of the Renaissance artists from Cimabue to Giotto, to Donatello through to DaVinci and Michelangelo.
It was a step back in time. However, comments at the end may have been helpful to identify where many of these masterpieces are today. Vasari was giving a contemporary account. Now the works of art he describes are now housed in some of the most famous museums in the world.
Yes. It is fascinating history that reads like an engaging novel
Larson writes in a similar fashion as Ross King and Thomas Cahill, telling history with a focus on the psychological dimensions of the personalities involved. In this case William Dodd, FDR's first Ambassador to Berlin during the rise of Hitler and Fascism, and his fascinating daughter, Martha.
Many scenes were crafted perfectly to show how far ahead of other State Department officials Dodd was in recognizing the true evil in Hitler, Goebbels and his Nazi followers. Perhaps the scene that fits the title the best is when Martha is introduced to Adolf Hitler in 1934 or so, with the intention, of being his female companion, or at least to place the American Ambassador in a compromising position though his daughter. Nothing came of the encounter, but Hitler's beastly pathology is clearly intimated and Martha's discomfort was evident.
The sadness that an intellectual like Dodd, who was paradoxically so naive and brilliant, was treated with such disrespect by Sec. of State Hull, and the other diplomats in the Old Gentlemen's Club. Hitler's mistreatment of Americans, and his maniacal obsession and oppression of German Jews was know to our leaders, and little was done in those early years form 1933 to 1938.
An excellent telling of both a personal history and a very significant time in American and World history. Larson is both historian and novelist. All politics may be local, but Larson makes history personal -- well done!
Excellent Historical Fiction
Lucretia --- because Dunant gives her a modern feminist strength, within the restraints of the patriarchal culture of 15th Century Europe and within the Roman Catholic Church.
I enjoyed his narration of Beautiful Ruins, and he didn't disappoint here, except I had to get the image of Carlo Tursi out of my head and replace it with Rodrigo and Cesare Borgia! He is terrific with Italian themed stories. His use of the language gives it all its beauty and charm.
Tough choice --- only one, probably Lucretia because of her natural resilience and depth. Other wise it would be fascinating to have dinner with Rodrigo Borgia as Pope Alexander VI and Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere, the soon to be Pope Julius II. That would be a dinner of first rate minds and devious temperaments ---- their nonverbal communication would be more fascinating than the words they would share.
Dunant brings a fresh view of the Borgias to the over-saturated media versions on Showtime and the BBC. Her history seeks authenticity not sensationalism though rumor and innuendo. The Borgias were plenty corrupt without the titillation of incest, suspected not proven.
Francona is a family story, about the Francona family, and his baseball family the Boston Red Sox.
The warmth, honesty and intensity expressed by Terry Francona.
A Bronx Tale in Fenway Park.
Like the DeNiro Film, Francona is a baseball purist who has to function in a world run by CEO's, GM's and statistical gurus who try to compromise his belief in the players and the sport.
Yes. It is very entertaining.
Each character has his or her strengths and flaws, and they are developed effectively
Mantegna's attempts to channel Brando for the voice of Don Corleone was a treat.
No, too long. But it worked very well in multiple sittings.
I had forgotten how closely the movie script followed the book. The dialogue from the book is almost used word for word in the movie ---- both were exceptional in editing and implementation.
I was not familiar with Conn Iggulden and his Emperor series. But as an aficionado of Ancient Roman History, and a former history teacher, I was disappointed this work of historical fiction. It is a compelling story. Rome's civil war pitting Caesar and Pompey, and the inexorable push by Caesar to gain absolute power, yet Iggulden relayed too heavily on the fiction, and not so much on historical accuracy, in ways that were too obviously out of context. A few examples, the story lines involving Julia, Caesar's daughter were completely fabricated, especially with references to a relationship she had with Brutus. Equally, the character of Brutus is mostly exaggerated, especially his being portrayed as an exceptional general, who helped subdue the Ptolemaic attacks on the legions in Alexandria after Pharsalus. The biggest disappointed in this work, however, is the pronunciations of names by the narrator. His pronunciations of famous figures too some getting used to. Cicero is Kickero, Octavian is Octawian, to name just a few. Finally, he covers the decline of Republic with little mention of Cato, whom the narrator calls Kato. Over all, it is an entertaining listen, just not a very accurate historical representation of these dramatic events.
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