vasilis's review against another edition

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informative

3.5

Dik boek, en niet altijd even prettig geschreven. Af en toe vroeg ik me ook af of hij bepaalde zinnen nou ironisch bedoelde, wat ik mag hopen, of dat hij ze meende. In dat geval gaat er een half sterretje af.

akuvenkat's review

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informative slow-paced

4.0

the_bitextual's review

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4.0

It's definitely about a Bookseller from Florence, for sure

jaarherinnerenvanaf2022's review

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challenging informative inspiring reflective slow-paced

4.25

bansidhe1125's review against another edition

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slow-paced

4.0

therelentlessreader's review

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informative slow-paced

3.0

sarahlxxx's review

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2.0

Not what I expected, Vespasiano's name is in the title but most of the book isn't about him. 

abeanbg's review

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4.0

Very fine biography of both a man and his political and intellectual times.

kipress's review

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challenging informative slow-paced

ptrmsschrs's review

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informative inspiring reflective medium-paced

4.5

A fascinating look into an extroardinary period

Let me first explain why I didn't give this very entertaining book 5 stars: it lacks a map of Italy with its territories and city states as they were in the 15th century; and it lacks a brief chronology of the different popes and the different men in power (e.g. Medici).  These two easy additions would make it much easier to follow the historical events.

Apart from that I have nothing but praise for this fascinating read.  Mr. King really makes Florence in the 15th century come alive.  What an amazing time this must have been: popes who have their own armies; aristocratic families who wage war on each other; occasional bouts of the plague that wipe out part of the population.  You'd think that this is a work of fiction, but it certainly isn't.  Moreover the author doesn't dramatize the events.  He narrates it in a cool scholarly fashion; although I have to admit that sometimes it was difficult to follow who was fighting with whom and for what reason.  

Everything revolves aroudn the person of Vespasiano da Bisticci, bookseller extraordinaire, who ran a succesful business of copying ancient manuscripts for the high and mighty.  It's a pity that we don't find out more about the personal life of Vespasiano (e.g. it isn't until the end of the book that I learned he never married), but I think that is due to the lack of historical sources.  

What fascinated me as well was the way these manuscripts were meticulously made with miniature paintings and how much time and effort it took to copy even one book, let alone the complete works of Plato.  And then Gutenberg invented the printing press.  Did it make manuscripts redundant and what was the impact of printing on the general public.  You'll find out if you read 'The Bookseller of Florence'.  You won't regret it.