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TheBeauty and the Terror

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Catherine Fletcher is a historian of Renaissance and early modern Europe. Her previous books incl... Read More

Product Description

Catherine Fletcher is a historian of Renaissance and early modern Europe. Her previous books include The Black Prince of Florence: The Spectacular Life and Treacherous World of Alessandro de' Medici and The Divorce of Henry VIII: The Untold Story. Catherine is Professor of History at Manchester Metropolitan University and broadcasts regularly for the BBC.

*A THE TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR 2020*

'Brilliant and gripping, here is the full true Renaissance in a history of compelling originality and freshness' Simon Sebag Montefiore


The Italian Renaissance shaped Western culture - but it was far stranger and darker than many of us realise. We know the Mona Lisa for her smile, but not that she was married to a slave-trader. We revere Leonardo da Vinci for his art, but few now appreciate his ingenious designs for weaponry. We visit Florence to see Michelangelo's David, but hear nothing of the massacre that forced the republic's surrender. In fact, many of the Renaissance's most celebrated artists and thinkers emerged not during the celebrated 'rebirth' of the fifteenth century but amidst the death and destruction of the sixteenth century.

The Beauty and the Terror is an enrapturing narrative which includes the forgotten women writers, Jewish merchants, mercenaries, prostitutes, farmers and citizens who lived the Renaissance every day. Brimming with life, it takes us closer than ever before to the reality of this astonishing era, and its meaning for today.

'Terrifying and fascinating' Sunday Times

'Enlightening...exactly the alternative history you might wish for' Daily Telegraph

Terrifying and fascinating ... If you thought the Renaissance was all about beautiful pictures and the ‘rediscovery’ of Classical writing, you are quite wrong … The Beauty and the Terror dismantles our assumptions about the Renaissance with the precision of a wheellock arquebus … an ambitious, multifocal book, encompassing more than 150 years [that] shine[s] a light on figures often forgotten in conventional historiesImpressive and lucid … Fletcher’s narration excels in such colourful details … a scholarly, but vivid history that shows the impact that the machinations of the great, good and not so good had on the insignificant … a persuasive account of how Italy was brought low even as the culture floated highRichly well-informed and admirably well-written, containing material of real interest on every page ... has added a wealth of information that will be new to most of usA story of alliances, betrayals, sacks, sieges, famines, assassinations and gruesomely ingenious tortures … Fletcher navigates this difficult terrain with great skill. She creates atmosphere and drama without any surrendering of clarity... A powerful bookFletcher’s expertise is enviable … she knows better than anyone else just how treacherous a time and place it was. At its best, The Beauty and the Terror is as enlightening as you might hope: a chapter tracing early modern ambivalence about the rise of handguns … is exactly the alternative history you might wish for, as are the sections on slavery, sexual mores and pornography

Product Details

Title: TheBeauty and the Terror
Author: Catherine Fletcher
SKU: BK0451788
EAN: 9781784707941
Language: English

About Author

Catherine Fletcher is a historian of Renaissance and early modern Europe and the author of three previous books, including most recently The Beauty and the Terror: An Alternative History of the Italian Renaissance, which was a Book of the Year (2020) in The Times. Catherine is Professor of History at Manchester Metropolitan University and broadcasts regularly for the BBC.

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