The Venetians: A New History

11 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 13½ hrs. Tantor Audio. 2014. ISBN 9781452619477. $39.99; 11 CDs. library ed.; digital download. HIST
Strathern's (Napolean in Egypt) work has a unique structure, eschewing a straightforward chronicle of events and offering instead a panoply of interesting characters. From Marco Polo to Casanova, each person detailed herein significantly contributed to Venetian history and culture through trade, diplomacy, art, or war during Venice's long reign as an independent republic. A consistent theme throughout the city's history has been the dynamic conflict between the interests of ambitious Venetians and the greater good of the republic. In this competition, no matter how famous (or infamous) the citizen, the city always won. This novel approach to history highlights the dramatic rise and fall of Venice as a Mediterranean power. The drama is aided by the splendid narration of Derek Perkins, who handles Italian names and accents admirably.
VERDICT The combination of dramatic narrative with historical facts will appeal to both public and academic libraries. ["Strathern's stories do entertain, but they don't always enlighten," read the review of the Pegasus hc, LJ 11/1/13.]
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