The Florentines: From Dante to Galileo; The Transformation of Western Civilization

Pegasus. Jul. 2021. 400p. ISBN 9781643137322. $28.95. HIST
During the medieval era, much of the European world was lost in a darkness characterized by an absence of advancements in intellectual discovery and development. People’s lives were guided by communal means of survival that consisted of small trades, farming, and following strictly ordered religious guidelines. Even amongst scholars, the works of ancient Greek philosophers were missing, and many medieval scholars’ questions about the meaning of life and earthly existence were quickly satisfied by previously provided answers. Novelist and nonfiction author Strathern (The Medici; The Borgias) demonstrates how humanity’s unquenchable curiosity and need for understanding brought this era to an end in the heart of Tuscany, in the city of Florence. Drawing on subjects covered in previous books, Strathern meticulously guides readers through the lives of famous Renaissance visionaries such as Dante Alighieri, Leonardo da Vinci, Niccolò Machiavelli, and Galileo Galilei. This book doesn’t just describe each individuals’ accomplishments, but also shows how their lives full of shared experiences and unique circumstances were intricately intertwined in a way which positioned them to lead Europe into the Renaissance.
VERDICT Bringing the Renaissance into better focus, this well-researched work is highly recommended for readers with an interest in the era, art history, and Italian history.
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