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Venice: Pure City Hardcover – Import, International Edition
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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In this sumptuous vision of Venice, Peter Ackroyd turns his unparalleled skill for evoking a sense of place from London and the River Thames to Venice, the city of myth, mystery and beauty, set like a jewel in its glistening lagoon.
Ackroydâs Venice is at once romantic and packed with detail, conjuring up the atmosphere of the canals, bridges and sunlit squares, the churches and the markets, the fiestas and the flowers. He leads us through the fascinating, story-filled history of the city, from the first refugees arriving in the mists of the lagoon in the fourth century, to the rise of a great mercantile state and trading empire, the wars against Napoleon and the tourist invasions of today.
Everything is here: the merchants on the Rialto and the Jews in the ghetto; the mosaics of St. Marksâ and the glass blowers of Murano; the carnival masks and the sad colonies of lepers; the doges and the destitute. And of course, the artists â Bellini, Titian, Tintoretto, Tiepolo, with their passion for colour and form. There are wars and sieges, scandals and seductions, fountains playing in deserted squares and crowds thronging the markets. And there is a dark undertone too, of shadowy corners and dead ends, prisons and punishment.
We could have no better guide to Venice than Peter Ackroyd whose book is, itself, a glorious journey and the perfect holiday.
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One thing immediately noticeable is the jacket, or half-jacket, that covers only the bottom 6 inches of the cover.
The half-jacket bears the name of the book and a standard view of St. Mark's Square with the Doge's Palace, and in front of it, several gondolas in the Grand Canal.
The upper part of the cover and the half-jacket reveal what almost all travelers have noted, that Venice is very beautiful.
What is hiding behind Peter Ackroyd's half-jacket is the lower part of the cover, which I daresay cannot be called beautiful. Grotesque is a better word. I won't tell you what is depicted, which for all I know may come only with the hardcopy (the hardcopy would be my recommendation). But the pretty jacket concealing something that is not pretty, fits in with Ackroyd's overall revelations about Venice throughout the book.
Ackroyd stresses that Venice has always rested uneasy on the sea and is predominately surface and show. The façades of houses are covered with attractive sheets of varied colors of marble. Hence the beauty. Behind the façades, the construction material is brick, not blocks of marble. The houses rest on 10 or 12-foot wooden poles sunk down into the mud to reach a firm foundation of harder clay and dense sand. These pilings can last a thousand years if they remain submerged. Returned to air they would crumble.
The sea continuously seeks to reclaim Venice's 35-mile by 6-mile stretch of 117 islands. The city has always been in danger of disappearing into the sea. Yet the sea and the city's industry have been their life of far-flung trade. Ackroyd traces its history from early beginnings to a once great warring empire to its present position of attracting and depending upon worldwide tourism.
Ackroyd's enormous research is greatly evident. His writing is masterly. He is an excellent guide through Venice's life, religion, government, trade, industry, history, and myth. Venice is thoroughly fascinating.
Can't wait to return to Venice this May...after reading my new book
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well heads,but good information when you find it.