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Sprezzatura: 50 Ways Italian Genius Shaped the World Paperback – October 2, 2001
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They have reason to celebrate: Italy, after all, has exerted an influence in world affairs and culture all out of proportion to its size and population, and has done so for hundreds of years. Among the authors' subjects are the navigators Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, and Giovanni Verrazano, whose transoceanic voyages changed the course of world history; Andrea Palladio, the architect whose theories have guided designers and builders to the present day; Claudio Monteverdi, whom the authors call "the father of modern music," who gave the world not only fine operas but also the modern orchestra; Enzo Ferrari, the great automaker; Roberto Rossellini, the often overlooked pioneer of New Wave cinema; and the anonymous Roman engineers who built aqueducts, sewers, and roads that still stand today.
Though short on interpretation (d'Epiro and Pinkowish offer little insight into why Italy should have produced such an abundance of inventive, often daring men--and women, though only a few figure in their pages), this anecdotal collection of biographical sketches is a pleasing entertainment for admirers of all things Italian. --Gregory McNamee
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
The 50 essays are well chosen and cover the whole gamut of Italian genius - in art, in music, in science, in politics, in fashion...you name it. It's an excellent overview of Italy's contributions to world civilization that touches all the main bases. At the same time, it's a collection of self-contained essays, each a pleasure to read and each chock full of unexpected facts and anecdotes - the texture of history, or what I believe Ezra Pound called the "luminous detail."
Bottom line: Sprezzatura is learned and well-written - never dull or pedantic. Sure, the essays aren't all of the same quality. Some are merely very good, while most are superb. For anyone who knows Italy - its people and its history - Sprezzatura is a must. I've lived there, I've studied there, and I love this book. For anyone who doesn't know Italy but wants to, Sprezzatura is a must too. I can think of no better introduction.
As you can see, I have a great love for the land of my ancestors. I am passionately interested in the history of Italy as well as the culture. I have read multiple Italian histories. What I enjoyed about this book is that it provided a good survey of both.
The book is a good starting point for anyone interested in history. Each of the 50 chapters is a concise discussion of important contribution Italy has made to the world. It gives the reader a taste of interesting topics that they can then go on to research in more detail.
If there is any criticism that I could make of the book is that it is a summation. So, when the author describes the Roman contribution to architecture, he discusses architecture in general. This, however, is a minor criticism of the book. If one were to discuss all the contributions Italians have made to architecture, it would fill a book in and of itself. The same is true for each of the chapters. There are just too many contributions made by Italy to be discussed in detail by any one book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bought this book to replace my old copy . Each " Genius " is presented in a very clear way , with
facts , no embellishment. Read more
One of the charms of this unique book is the ability to meander over the centuries, letting your mood choose the entry, and yet feeling a sense of context, because of the authors'... Read morePublished 8 months ago by S. Rosenfeld
Interesting book but a bit boring. You will read it once and then give it to somebody else to read.Published 8 months ago by Jaime Viejo
Sprezzatura offers the American reader unfamiliar with the accomplishments in Italian history, literature, nuclear science,medicine, and fashion that have contributed to our... Read morePublished on May 26, 2014 by Nancy L. DAntuono
One of my favorite books. It's amazing which everyday innovations came out of Italy. [e.g. the fork, high heels, the basis for French cuisine etc. ]Published on December 10, 2013 by JR
Reveals the definition of magisterial elegance. Examples in action of the near impossible as second nature...Impossible to fake, easily detected. Read morePublished on July 1, 2013 by Clyf