Reviews by AAJ

The Life of Cesare Borgia

by Rafael Sabatini

[modified from review of same book on Amazon]

Because I have enjoyed Sabatini's novels, I was intrigued to see what he would do with a nonfiction work. His colorful use of the language makes this an enjoyable read. With little prior knowledge of Italian history or geography, I learned much about the place and times. I enjoyed Sabatini's defense of the Borgia family, comparing their activities within others living in that relatively immoral time and also refuting accusations made against them by others (both contemporaries and later biographers).

However, the Amazon (free) digital version could be much improved. Non-English characters display as question marks (as in Citt? di Castello) - this does not make it impossible to read, but it is distracting. The Gutenberg version (I downloaded it from manybooks) displays the actual characters and does not indent each paragraph as does the version being reviewed. I finally switched to the manybooks/Gutenberg version and found it much easier to read.

Sabatini is reported to have been fluent in at least six languages, and he frequently includes quotations in French, Italian, and Latin. I would hope to find a version that includes translations of these sections, and one with a map showing the place names used throughout this book.

Sabatini's Life of Cesare Borgia is definitely worth a second read.

Added note: Both the Amazon (free) version and the manybooks version were downloaded in Kindle format at no cost.

Reviewed on 2011.08.06

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