It’s no wonder Machiavelli’s account of Césare Borgia in The Prince became one of the best-selling books in the 1980s business community. It’s full of practical hints on how to stab your adversary in the back while staring him in the face. The surprise is how many educated readers still believe that Lucrezia Borgia was the unrivaled monster of her age. That misconception is one of the myths Marion Johnson shatters in her excellent account of a 15th century Italian dynasty. Listeners who prefer contemporary biography will be surprised at how little political mores have really changed.
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I'm interested in the idea of the Borgias, but this book is dry. I tried a couple of times, but I just can't get very far. It doesn't seem like all that much is actually known about the family, which may be part of the problem.