Europe, 1492: Portrait of a Continent Five Hundred Years Ago

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Titled to mark the year in which Europe became the ``Old World,'' this beautiful book celebrates a culture that ended with the 15th century. Cardini, who teaches medieval history in Italy, re-creates the era in scrupulous detail. He follows the Ferdinand Braudel school of history in considering the facts of everyday life and trade, but differs in some particulars, such as whether the Middle Sea posed a challenge to navigators, and his splendid choice of illustrations, which, selected from art works of the period, depict princes more often than peasants. Beside accounts of fabled travelers Prester John and Marco Polo, Cardini offers histories of much-faded powers--Bohemia, Naples, Burgundy--and provocative glimpses of future forces (Muscovy, the New World); discusses the important role of religion; literature (e.g., Malory's Morte d'Arthur ); warfare; plague; and more. BOMC alternate. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Cardini makes exaggerated claims for the modernity of the age of Columbus. He asserts that the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 ``ushered in a new age of systematic persecutions . . . eventually leading to the ghettoes, the pogroms, and . . . extermination camps.'' He states that Ferdinand and Isabella laid ``the groundwork for a centralized government for their two kingdoms'' by their administrative reforms; instead, the bulk of their actions confirmed regional privilege and the separate government of their kingdoms; the kingdoms seemed united because ruled by spouses. It is an awkward leap from Alberti's essays in city planning to ``the new-order restructurings and foundations of the European totalitarian regimes of the 1920s and 1930s.'' The repeated use of pseudoscientisms is not matched by a corresponding precision of thought or content. This is a book of flash and filigree, attractive but insubstantial. Not recommended. BOMC alternate.-- David Keymer, SUNY Coll. of Technology, Utica
A picture book with text that is not particularly coherent or well- organized. The illustrations, almost all of which are in color and well reproduced, are a curious collection, mainly of 15th century art. While obviously not published for the scholar, this will be a hit with the gift-giving crowd who have friends with coffee tables. Oversized at 101/2x121/2". Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816021888
  • Publisher: Facts on File, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/29/2000
  • Pages: 240

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