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Drawing on firsthand accounts of pitched sea battles, skillful negotiations, and diplomatic maneuvers, Crowley paints a vivid picture of this avaricious, enterprising people and the bountiful lands that came under their dominion. Defiant of emperors, indifferent to popes, the Venetians saw themselves as reluctant freebooters, compelled to take to the open seas “because we cannot live otherwise and know not how except by trade.” From the opening of the spice routes to the clash between Christianity and Islam, Venice played a leading role in the defining conflicts of its time—the reverberations of which are still being felt today. Only an author with Roger Crowley’s deep knowledge of post-Crusade history could put these iconic events into their proper context. Epic in scope, magisterial in its understanding of the period, City of Fortune is narrative history at its most engrossing.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Scot on 06-12-14
A Wonderful Listen
I love history, but I have never read (or listened) to a book about the history of Venice. This book is really not about the city of Venice, but about the influence that Venice had on the period of history from approximately 1000 to 1600. It was like listening to a well thought out story. Honestly I could hardly stop listening, and when it was finished I felt like I had lost a friend. It was that good. Mr. Crowley also wrote a book 'Empires of the Sea' which is equally as good. I would recommend both books to those who love history and those who love a riveting story. I hope that Mr. Crowley rights many many more books as he has a unique knack for interwinding facts with insight of those who were alive at that time. Again, simply a wonderfully good book.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
By James Pritchett on 07-01-13
An Excellent Presentation
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
The story is beautifully crafted and the narrator did a splendid job of presenting the story of how Venice became such an important city-state.
What other book might you compare City of Fortune to and why?
I would compare it to stories about other great city-states, such as the ancient Greek cities of Athens and Sparta. Each of these cities had developed a personality and skill set that, while not exclusively their own, was the pinnacle of each city's success.
What does Edoardo Ballerini bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
He can speak Italian beautifully and presents the story in a brilliant fashion. Bravo!
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
It really was. I found it informative, fascinating, and extremely well presented.
Any additional comments?
If the reader has any interest in European History during the five hundred years between 1000 and 1500, this is a wonderful main avenue to take a gondola ride upon.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful