Venice: A New History and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
$14.50
Condition: Used: Like New
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Venice: A New History Hardcover – October 25, 2012


See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$3.95 $2.94

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Check out The Amazon Book Review, our editors' fresh new blog featuring interviews with authors, book reviews, quirky essays on book trends, and regular columns by our editors. Explore now

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Founded by bedraggled refugees fleeing the same barbarian invasions that brought the glorious Roman Empire to a close, Venice is a city most of us know for its art and architecture but of whose long, unique history few of us are aware. From its humble beginnings, Venice rose to a position of a naval and economic power as well as a great cultural and intellectual innovator. The Venetian republic, a model for our own, established extensive trading networks, became a maritime juggernaut, and endured the ravages of plague only to see its power gradually eclipsed by the Ottoman Turks and meet its ultimate demise at the hands of a French army. Stepping outside of his usual focus on the Crusades (The New Concise History of the Crusades, 2005), Madden paints a vivid portrait of “a city without land, an empire without borders.” His engaging work enters a sparse historiography that includes John Julius Norwich’s enduring A History of Venice(1982) and Roger Crowley’s City of Fortune (2012) and separates itself by offering a readable overview backed by solid research. Readers will come away from Madden’s Venice with newfound respect for one of the great jewels of Western civilization. --Brian Odom

Review

"Breezy, cheerful, evenhanded, Madden debunks myths about Venetian decadence, and brushes aside ugly whispers about greedy, unscrupulous merchants.  When a colorful character pops up (Marco Polo, Casanova), he makes the most of it in his brisk, no-nonsense prose." -- New York Times

"This is a savory, tantalizing, but not-so-serene history of La Serenissima -- a tale of invasion, plunder, and ultimate elevation to one of the leading merchant cities in Europe.  ...Madden makes use of thousands of Venetians' personal documents from the Middle Ages to present an authoritative history."
-- Publishers Weekly
 
"Madden paints a vivid portrait of 'a city without land, an empire without borders.'  His engaging work enters a sparse historiography... and separates itself by offering a readable overview backed by solid research. Readers will come away from Madden's Venice with a newfound respect for one of the great jewels of Western civilization.
-- Booklist (Starred Review)
 
"Plenty of books focus on Venice the romantic ruin.  This one offers a welcome reminder of its historic role over a millennium in the development of a modern economic system and the maintenance of the global balance of power."
-- Kirkus Reviews
 
"Madden presents a popular history as engaging as it is solid.  In graceful, sometimes elegant prose, he details the long life of one of Europe's most intriguing cities...  It is as enjoyable as it is astute."
-- Library Journal
 
"As Thomas F. Madden relates in his excellent new book, the city was once far more than just a romantic tourist destination. ... Madden's book is a lively and lucid survey of Venice's colorful history."
-- The Seattle Times


 “Madden proves the perfect guide to the magical city of Venice. His history is not only authoritative and encyclopedic, encompassing everything from the plundering of Attila the Hun to Katharine Hepburn’s tribulations while filming Summertime, it is also unfailingly readable and amusing—a must-read for Europhiles, armchair travelers, and history buffs.” —Ross King, author of Brunelleschi’s Dome and Leonardo and the Last Supper


 “Thomas Madden’s portrait of Venice glows like one of the city’s own rich and colorful artworks—a tapestry woven from a thousand tales, with unforgettable characters, daring exploits, and inspiring triumphs against overwhelming odds.” —John R. Hale, author of Lords of the Sea


 “Madden is that rare talent—a serious scholar who tells a gripping story. He breathes life into Venetian history in all its subtle complexity, rescuing the Venetians from the common stereotype of one-dimensional merchants. This book is a fantastic read.” —Lars Brownworth, author of Lost to the West: The Forgotten Byzantine Empire that Rescued Western Civilization
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; First Edition edition (October 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670025429
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670025428
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #201,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Thomas F. Madden is Professor of History and Director of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Saint Louis University. As an author and historical consultant he has appeared in such venues as The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and The History Channel.

Awards for his scholarship include the Haskins Medal, awarded by the Medieval Academy of America, and the Otto Grundler Prize, awarded by the Medieval Institute. He is a Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America, and a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Review by GS on November 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Having vacationed in Venice in 2010, I became keenly interested in reading more about the history of Venice. City of Fortune was very informative and one of the best reads to date. However, this new book by Madden provides new and complementary information and is even more readable. Venice a New History begins by focusing on Venetian roots and the burgeoning influence during the four crusades that built Venice into the dominant maritime sea power by 1200-1250. There are some wonderful stories about specific events and the Venetian doges involved that read more like a novel. Madden does a great job of explaining how and why choices were made that resulted in the historical events we know today. He describes the opposing interests from different viewpoints, and explains which (and why) decisions carried the day with numerous stories. Very enjoyable!
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Samuel J. Sharp on April 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is the second history of Venice I have read, the first being Roger Crowley's "City of Fortune." Madden's book is much more comprehensive than Crowley's and not only covers the entirety of Venice's history, from its founding by mainland refugees to what Madden terms its "Disneyfied" tourist economy, but also the details of its political, economic, and spiritual life. Crowley focuses almost exclusively on Venice's military campaigns, and his book covers five turbulent centuries from 1000-1500.

Madden is a academic who has written extensively about Venice, which makes the lack of a bibliography a bit surprising. Madden does provide and excellent "Further Reading" section, but a proper bibliography would have been helpful. He admits to writing this book for the general reader not fellow academics, and the writing style is highly engaging and accessible. I strongly recommend this book to those interested in European history. Venice's unique place in history is expertly detailed. The relentless rise and crushing fall of Venice makes for a great story, and Madden tells it beautifully.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Leeaundra Temescu on January 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book in anticipation of a trip to Venice this summer. I was expecting to have to slog through a scholarly treatise but was instead treated to a vibrant and wonderfully informative read. I know enough about history to not be satisfied by light and guide book like superficial histories - I need substance and scholarly rigor. But I also want a good story and something to get me through the many hours I spend on planes. I got both here. So readable and filled with information. It's also clear that Madden loves Venice. Sometimes this borders on partisanship - I'm not sure if his sympathetic (almost reverential) treatment of their political system is shared by other historians but I was charmed by it (and hope it is a valid interpretation!) Highly recommended!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
26 of 32 people found the following review helpful By LD TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
First, Madden goes all the way back to the Romans who fled Attila's invasion in 450. He explains how they modified the islands to survive. In 697 the first Doge was elected and how Venice's survival became linked to Constantinople. St. Mark's body was moved from Alexandria in 829 for safekeeping from the Muslims. By 1094 Venice had a population of 50,000 which doubled in a century. While Europe was in the feudal age, Venice became democratic, a maritime powerhouse, and a decisive military power.

The 4th Crusade is not discussed until chapter 6 which is where most other books begin. Chapter 7 debunks the theories of historians that Venice planned or got benefits from the 4th Crusade. The almost continuous wars with Genoa, Muslims, and European kings is described in detail.

Chapter 9 explains the unique methods employed to limit the Black Plague and the construction of San Marco as we see it today.

Chapter 11 reveals how Venice's need for the necessities of life drove it to trade for everything. This required a quick medium of exchange. Money, deposit banking, loans, bonds, insurance, and bookkeeping came into use. Jewish money lenders played a significant role.

When the Portuguese and later the Dutch began direct voyages for spices and Asian luxury goods, Venice went into decline. But it became a major art, crafts, architecture, and education center for Europe. Commercial shipping continued through the 18th century but their military power was gone. As early as 1600 Venice became a tourist destination. Silk, lace, and glass became major industries.

Napoleon conquered the mainland empire and in 1797 the government was dissolved. The Habsburgs ruled until Italy became a nation.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tom Monk on May 18, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am something of a history buff but certainly no historian. I greatly enjoyed this historical look at this beautiful city and learned that there is much to admire about Venice than just its decaying beauty. My only regret is that I could not have read this history before my own trip to Venice 2 summers ago. I realize now that I missed a number of sights while in the city. Of course, I saw the Rialto, the Piazza de San Marco & the Ducal Palace, but there was so much more I could have seen, so much more of the city to explore. I am now determined to make another trip to Venice in the future, in large part due to this book.

Venice was founded by primarily wealthy Romans and citizens of other Italian cities fleeing the barbarian invasions that ultimately collapsed the Roman Empire. For over 1000 years, its lagoon protected it from invasion, and the city became a seafaring commercial empire. Our Founding Fathers studied Venice's republican government and, though they incorrectly considered Venice to be just an oligarchy ruled by the wealthy, must have taken solace in the fact that this government lasted over a millennium and was remarkably stable during a period when feudalism dominated Europe. Venice finally fell to the cannons and advanced warfare of Napoleon, who literally raped and plundered the city of much of its wealth and art. Oh to have seen the Venice of the 1600s... The Venetians were capitalists and found that what was "best for business" was generally best for city and its citizens. We are lucky to have this wonderful city still intact today, though thriving upon and drowning in tourists. I highly recommend this book for those interested in Venetian, Italian, European or world history.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Want to discover more products? Check out this page to see more: little grado