Mentzel (European & Near Eastern history, Utah State Univ.) has written a concise but highly readable book delving into Venice's rich history. This archipelago city's location has bridged Western and Eastern cultures from the barbarian invasions to modern times. Mentzel mines this special history to tell some compelling stories, including those about the legendary Giovanni Casanova, the city's imperial rise and episodic flooding, the four bronze horses captured from the Hippodrome in Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade and brought to Venice, and the return of St. Mark the Evangelist's body from Alexandria. Other highlights include a chronology of major historical events, a list of doges (government leaders) from the seventh through the 18th centuries, and descriptions of churches, synagogues, historic buildings, museums, bridges, and outer islands. Black-and-white maps and Peter Geissler's elegant line drawings illustrate the book. Recommended for larger travel collections and libraries that already own other titles in the "Traveller's History" series.-Elizabeth Connor, The Citadel, Military Coll. of South Carolina Lib., Charleston Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.