The Borgias and Their Enemies

The Borgias and Their Enemies

1431-1519

Book - 2008 | 1st ed.
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A biography of the Borgia family looks at the dynasty's rise to power from its Spanish roots, while profiling its powerful patriarch, Pope Alexander VI; his daughter, Lucrezia; and his ruthless son Cesare, the model for Machiavelli's "The Prince."
Publisher: Orlando : Harcourt, c2008.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780151010332
Branch Call Number: 945.050922 H624
Characteristics: vi, 328 p. ; 24 cm.

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VaughanPLKarenL Jan 11, 2017

I realize this is a slim volume and some things are going to get skipped over, but there are a lot of things that got glossed over that probably could have benefited from being covered in even just slightly more detail. Instead of removing “the layers of myth around the Borgia family”, Hibbert serves to add another layer onto them: there is precious little in this volume that has not been covered in years past (in single books). Hibbert also fails to use in-text citations, footnotes, or endnotes, with a couple of exceptions – and from memory, it may very well literally be a couple - where he does note who said or saw something (without citing it), making for a rather harrowing read when you keep in mind this is supposed to be history. He does, however, include a short bibliography at the end. If you don’t mind not knowing the reliability of information – more specifically not being given the chance to even judge for yourself – then this might be an interesting read for you. Otherwise, there are plenty of other books on the Borgia family and specific Borgia family members that would be a much better investment of your time.

The Borgias by G. J. Meyer is a much more in-depth coverage of the Borgia family, touching on the myths, or what is oft said about them (these are actually also discussed by Hibbert, though accepted completely as truth, which is what you get with older contemporary and as close to contemporary sources as well), as well as providing possible alternate explanations. It is a much longer read, but well worth it, as it discusses different perspectives regarding the information often cited in other works. Meyer also gives the reader context in which to understand actions taken by the Borgias and those around them, which helps ground what might otherwise be seen as singular atrocities. Whether you are convinced of Meyer’s hypotheses or not, Meyer gives the reader enough information to decide for themselves - I cannot say the same for Hibbert.

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