The name Borgia is synonymous with the corruption, nepotism, and greed that were rife in Renaissance Italy. The powerful, voracious Rodrigo Borgia, better known to history as Pope Alexander VI, was the central figure of the dynasty. Two of his seven papal offspring also rose to power and fame - his daughter Lucrezia and her brother Cesare, who murdered Lucrezia's husband and served as the model for Machiavelli's The Prince.
The Borgias were notorious for seizing power, wealth, land, and titles through bribery, marriage, and murder. The story of the family's dramatic rise from its Spanish roots to the highest position in Italian society is an absorbing tale.
©2009 Christopher Hibbert (P)2012 AudioGO
After watching the Showtime series, I wanted a little real history on the Borgia family and this did provide it. In fact, I was surprised at the liberties taken by the TV series after listening to this historical account. I am glad I took the time to research their recorded history a little.
The actual substance is a little dry, which is amazing considering the subject matter. This is a traditional "this happened and then this happened and then this" type of narrative, amounting to a compilation of information from various sources without any gloss. I guess that is a good counterpoint to the TV series, which went too far in the other direction and changed a lot of the history behind this colorful family. I don't know that I would change that about this book, its just different from other representations I have encountered.
I would say that this audiobook is worth the listening time.
I guess you need a history lesson before you start. I was unable to get a start date to the action and then the book started skipping around in history. Perhaps this one is better in print so you can have a timeline. I was lost in the first chapter. Maybe the second listen will be easier. My advice is to know your history before you listen.
One of my favorites.
All the sordid details of Alexander VI, Cesere and Lucretcia lives.
When they talked about Alexander's enthusiasm towards loose women. He acted very un-popelike.
I was moved when Lucreztia left her father for the last time. I felt sad for them both.
I grew up on Golden Age Radio, and while I love to read, I typically consume more books via audio thanks to a job that lets me listen while I work. As an aspiring writer, I try to read a great deal of non-fiction in addition to a variety of fictional genres. I especially love history, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and old-style gothic horror.
When you know that Cesare Borgia is the model upon whom Niccolo Machiavelli based his work "The Prince," this gives an instant expectation to the sordid tale within. This story has nearly every level of scandal imaginable and is anything but boring as a result. The thing is, Renaissance Italian politics can be confusing at best for the newcomer. Christopher Hibbert to the rescue. The narrative here begins well before Rodrigo Borgia becomes Pope, and it unfolds simply and directly, with enough detail to captivate without bogging the reader down. But just because it's concise, don't believe that it doesn't pack a punch. It's the kind of entry level history that paints a vivid enough picture to grasp everything, but it also leaves the reader interested enough to perhaps want to dig even deeper. I know I did.
John Telfer's narration is more than adequate to the task at hand, since he doesn't have to change his voice or anything of that sort. Nor does he read this in a monotone. It's easy to tell he had as much fun reading the tale as I did listening to it.
This was a well-researched and interesting portrayal of a fascinating family in Renaissance Italy.
I enjoyed the insight into the inner workings of the Holy See during the Renaissance.
No. Interesting listen.
I have read other books by Hibbert and this was among the best efforts.
This is a really well organised history. There is some confusion with names (as is to be expected in history books around this era; titles attached to multiple people over time) but overall a really interesting read and well worth your time.
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