Death in Florence

Death in Florence

The Medici, Savonarola, and the Battle for the Soul of A Renaissance City

Book - 2015
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"One of the defining moments in Western history, the bloody and dramatic story of the battle for the soul of Renaissance Florence" -- provided by publisher.
"By the end of the fifteenth century, Florence was well established as the home of the Renaissance. As generous patrons to the likes of Botticelli and Michelangelo, the ruling Medici embodied the progressive humanist spirit of the age, and in Lorenzo de' Medici (Lorenzo the Magnificent) they possessed a diplomat capable of guarding the militarily weak city in a climate of constantly shifting allegiances between the major Italian powers. However, in the form of Savonarola, an unprepossessing provincial monk, Lorenzo found his nemesis. Filled with Old Testament fury and prophecies of doom, Savonarola's sermons reverberated among a disenfranchised population, who preferred medieval Biblical certainties to the philosophical interrogations and intoxicating surface glitter of the Renaissance. Savonarola's aim was to establish a 'City of God' for his followers, a new kind of democratic state, the likes of which the world had never seen before. The battle between these two men would be a fight to the death, a series of sensational events--invasions, trials by fire, the 'Bonfire of the Vanities', terrible executions and mysterious deaths--featuring a cast of the most important and charismatic Renaissance figures. Was this a simple clash of wills between a benign ruler and religious fanatic? Between secular pluralism and repressive extremism? In an exhilaratingly rich and deeply researched story, Paul Strathern reveals the paradoxes, self-doubts, and political compromises that made the battle for the soul of the Renaissance city one of the most complex and important moments in Western history" -- provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Pegasus Books, 2015.
Edition: First Pegasus Books hardcover edition.
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9781605988269
Characteristics: xv, 428 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), maps ; 24 cm


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May 22, 2016

I read his while in Florence. It was a well researched and readable book which give real insight to what was going on in Itally and Europe during the period. If anything, it removed some of the mystique from the Medici and made them much more understandable in the context of renaisance history. Savanorola comes off much better than the crazed fanatic that he seems in many other histories. Standing in his cell in the monastery was a rather interesting experience.

Oct 02, 2015

Excellent, positive review in The Washington Post, Oct. 2, 2015. Critical descriptions of both Savonarola and the Medici world of Florence, Italy.


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