- Paperback: 480 pages
- Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 21, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0812980220
- ISBN-13: 978-0812980226
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 158 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas Paperback – May 21, 2013
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“The rise and fall of Venice’s empire is an irresistible story and [Roger] Crowley, with his rousing descriptive gifts and scholarly attention to detail, is its perfect chronicler.”—The Financial Times
“[Crowley] writes with a racy briskness that lifts sea battles and sieges off the page.”—The New York Times
“Crowley chronicles the peak of Venice’s past glory with Wordsworthian sympathy, supplemented by impressive learning and infectious enthusiasm.”—The Wall Street Journal
“A pleasure to read . . . a gripping story.”—Washington Independent Review of Books
“Fascinating . . . [Crowley writes] absorbingly and accessibly for all readers of history.”—Library Journal
About the Author
Roger Crowley was born in 1951 and spent part of his childhood in Malta. He read English at Cambridge University and taught English in Istanbul, where he developed a strong interest in the history of Turkey. He has traveled extensively throughout the Mediterranean basin over many years and has a wide-ranging knowledge of its history and culture. He lives in Gloucestershire, England. He is also the author of 1453: The Holy War for Constantinople and The Clash of Islam and the West and Empires of the Sea: The Siege of Malta, the Battle of Lepanto, and the Contest for the Center of the World.
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What I found more fascinating is the after effects of the fourth crusade. How Venice controlled key islands in the Aegean that corresponded to their economic and strategic goals. It was all about trade by sea, and it is absolutely amazing to realize how focused the Venetians were. I think Crowley does a good job of demonstrating that Venice was the protoype for global economic thinking.
He also demonstrates convincingly that Venice was also the prototype for colonialism backed by naval power. No, they did not always treat their subject states well since the goals were economic and strategic.
Finally, the incremental rise of Ottoman sea power is contrasted with the slow decline of the Venetian state as the dominant naval power. I think Crowley did a great job in showing how the forgotten battles such as Negroponte had a huge impact on the morale and identity of Venice.
My only complaint is the ending of the book. It is almost as if Mr. Crowley assumes that the reader's history must be adequate enough to know what happens next. The implication being that Venice continues to decline ultimately resulting in the horses of St. Mark's ending up in France as Napoleon takes northern Italy. Further, Crowley wrote the excellent book Empires of the Sea: The Siege of Malta, the Battle of Lepanto, and the Contest for the Center of the World. The events of this battle are only 50 or 60 years after the end of this book. Why not include more details linking to this battle and the events leading to it? I mean, he skims some of these events such as Cypress being taken by the Ottoman Empire. What is one more chapter between friends... right?
All in all a great book that I enjoyed reading very much.
The writing is clear and concise. I've been to Venice several times but this last visit was immeasurably enhanced by the visceral and dramatic knowledge contained herein. You'll never feel quite as casual strolling around Piazza San Marco, or shopping on the Rialto bridge after reading this book.
Kudos to the author.
I was disappointed when the book was over. I wanted another few centuries of learning.
One caution-I got the kindle version. At the end of the book and many many pages of period paintings and maps and such. I would rather have a physical book in my hand as the black and white shot of a magnificent painting isn't as cool.
I have a much better understanding of Venice as a culture and as a city. There isn't anyplace like it.
I was not disappointed. It is well written and very easy to read. It filled in many gaps in my knowledge of history. It was also interesting to discover the extent to which the 4th Crusade was a major contributor the the decline of the Byzantine empire and the ultimate fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans. The fact that that crusade mainly ended up targeting christian city's that were regarded as competition by Venice was also enlightening as was Venice's constant war with Genoa .
A well written fascinating book.
Most recent customer reviews
Amazingly detailed and upfront, based on Venetian records that must have...Read more