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Publisher's Summary

In all of human history there has never been an era as richly endowed with human creativity as the Italian Renaissance. When the economic boom of the Late Middle Ages had allowed a flourishing and wealthy merchant class to emerge, a plethora of artists, sculptors, architects, and thinkers followed in their wake. In an astonishingly short period of time, Italy was transformed mentally, physically, and spiritually. Powerful commercial centers like Florence, Venice, and Milan became independent. Artists like Michaelangelo and Cellini threw off the customs of the past and forged new symbols of Man, while others, like the gentle aristocrat Baldassare Castiglione, were attempting to civilize the behavior of society with gentlemanly manners. From north to south, Italian cities were literally reborn with an energy and enthusiasm that has never repeated itself anywhere.

This great historical essay tells you why this extraordinary event occurred and why it finally died out, though its effects lasted hundreds of years. Ironically, all the great pomp and splendor of the Italian Renaissance was accompanied by some of the worst violence and mayhem that Italy has ever experienced. In the midst of splendor unheard of, men murdered, stole, raped, lied, and cuckolded friend and foe. Horrible torture, brutal war, and poisonous political intrigue went hand in hand with the most sumptuous artistic and literary output in European history. Follow this incredible story to understand the Italian Renaissance in ways you never conceived.

©2004 Audio Connoisseur

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    21
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    16
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    19
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    15
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    9

Performance

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    8
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Story

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • DEW
  • Wake Forest, NC United States
  • 03-24-09

A truly pleasurable experience

This little "essay" (to use the same description Jacob Burckhardt used for his work, "The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy") is a brief, but wonderful introduction to the Italian Renaissance. Adding to the pleasure of this short book are the rich, sonorous tones of Charlton Griffin as the narrator and the brief introductory musical selections used to set the mood. If you love history of the Renaissance narrated by one of the truly great readers of our time, this is a must have selection.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Charlton Griffin does it again.

I would have never finished this book in print. But Mr. Griffin's audio version was fascinating. My next listen to it will be in Venice and Florence with an iPod in my pocket and earphones in my ear while sipping an espresso in one of them piazzas. Can't wait.
Anthony Pour, CA

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Not about specific artists

I am leaving to travel to Italy in about 2 weeks and was hoping that this book would give me insight and background information on some of the most influential artists of the time, including Michaelangelo and Da Vinci. It was hard for me to finish when they just kept hounding bigger, broader topics about various cities but nothing about artists. I probably should have researched this book more before buying.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Culture and Values

This book is more an overview of Italian Renaissance culture and values than a history. A fulsome account of the era's politics is absent, as is narrative drama.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Susan
  • San Jose, CA, USA
  • 07-25-06

Italian Renaissance

Although this download of "The Italian Renaissance" indicates that it is "unabridged", IT IS INCOMPLETE! The hard copy of the book is published with two parts. The first written by J.H. Plumb and the second by various authors. This recording only contains the first part of the book.

7 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Gary
  • Las Cruces, NM, United States
  • 06-04-14

History should be fun and this book wasn't.

History should be exciting. This book was not. It read as if it was a text book and all of the great stories that take place in this time period and the reason why it was so important for the reformation, enlightenment and today's times are not told within this book. Little context and no narrative is provided.

The author looks at each of the major Italian cities and describes them separately, then looks at some of the importance of painting, art and architecture of the period, and very little of the beginnings of the humanist thought or philosophy is presented in this book.

Don't get me wrong on this review. If you start the book, you'll probably finish it, but you will only be getting a text book like presentation of an incredibly exciting period of time and might be better served with another book on the topic which brings the history alive and would keep you on the edge of your seat the way such an exciting period of time should be told. History should be fun and this book wasn't.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Brian
  • Waxahachie, TX, USA
  • 02-23-06

Rambling vs. Renaiisance

This is not a history book. It is a poorly constructed stream of consciousness that contains as much opinion as fact.

Poorly organized and narrated with pomp and circumstantial evidence that proves you should look elsewhere for a historical account of the Italian Renaissance.

5 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

INCOMPLETE!

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Include the second half of the book.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Very interesting look at the Italian Renaissance... but doesn't include the second half of the book!

Any additional comments?

Don't advertise this as "unabridged," and then only include half of the book!

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Richard
  • Fair Lawn, NJ, United States
  • 05-16-12

Felt like school

Would you try another book from J.H. Plumb and/or Charlton Griffin?

A moderately good job was done of presenting an incredibly rich and interesting period of history. However, the strongly accented narration made following it difficult, often painful. Perhaps to a well heeled Brit this will be a great version, but to an American, it could have been significantly better

0 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • 03-18-16

Bizarre Pronunciation

A good book but diminished by the narrator's strange pronunciation of well-known words, and the names of people and places

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 08-04-10

Review

quite good content but the reade's style very 1950's upper crust English which takes from an average listener's attention to content. Still i would say it is worth a credit.